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Published: Wednesday, 7/28/2004

Whitehouse hires group to improve water quality

BY RACHEL ZINN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Whitehouse has hired Poggemeyer Design Group of Bowling Green to create a plan to improve the quality of the village's drinking water.

Village water contains slightly more of a substance referred to as total trihalomethanes than recommended by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The agency is requiring the village to submit a plan for improving its water quality by Dec. 1.

"We exceeded the EPA standard by a miniscule amount," village administrator Randy Bukas said.

Total trihalomethanes are created when chlorine mixes with drinking water. Toledo, which has provided water to Whitehouse since 2002, adds chlorine to its water to kill bacteria and other harmful organisms that can make people sick.

Mr. Bukas said too many total trihalomethanes are forming in the village's drinking water because the water takes a long time to travel from Toledo to some parts of the village. The water has an annual average of 0.089 milligrams of total trihalomethanes per liter of water. The environmental protection agency standard is 0.080 milligrams per liter.

Some studies have linked total trihalomethanes to an increased risk of liver and kidney problems and certain cancer, so the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency started regulating the issue more strictly in recent years.

Dina Pierce, Ohio EPA spokesperson, said health problems may be caused by years of drinking water with levels of total trihalomethanes significantly higher than the Whitehouse water.

"There is no reason for people in Whitehouse to switch to bottled water or boil tap water or anything like that," she said. "People have to be drinking the water for many years for there to be a problem."

Whitehouse will pay $6,800 to Poggemeyer for the water quality improvement plan. After the plan is given to the state, the village has three years to reduce the total trihalomethanes level.

Mr. Bukas said the plan will examine several options for lowering the amount of total trihalomethanes, including flushing out the water system's hydrants more frequently and connecting dead-ends in the water lines to improve circulation.



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