- Associated Press - Monday, October 12, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - The city of Bloomington may spend about $100,000 on a study of its water treatment methods amid concerns about rising levels of disinfectant byproducts in the college town’s drinking water.

Utilities Director Patrick Murphy said a recent report on Bloomington’s 2014 water quality showed disinfectant byproducts are within allowable levels but have been increasing slowly over the past few years. Those byproducts are created as the city’s water plant treats water drawn from nearby Lake Monroe, which provides water for Bloomington and other nearby communities.

He said the department is moving toward hiring an engineering firm to analyze the city’s water and treatment methods in hopes of reducing those potentially harmful byproducts, The Herald-Times reported (https://bit.ly/1QkRxju ).

The funding proposal is expected to go before the city’s Utilities Service Board in the coming weeks.

“We are going to crack the whip on that study,” Murphy said.

Drinking water treatment is influenced by several factors, including watershed management, weather, activity on and around the lake and how long treated water remains in the system, he said.

The chemical byproducts found in the water include haloacetic acids, which have an allowable level of 60 parts per billion; the report showed Bloomington’s level was at 56.6 parts per billion. The allowable level of the other byproduct, trihalomethanes, is 80 parts per billion; the level in the city’s water is 74.2 parts per billion.

Both levels were the highest in the past five years, attributed to water disinfection and water chlorination procedures.

“We want to change our treatment process,” said Rachel Atz, city water quality coordinator, adding that Bloomington first must prove to state environmental regulators that “we can do that and that it is still effective.”

Individuals who drink water containing excess levels of trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids over many years face an increased risk of cancer and could experience liver, kidney or central nervous system problems, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

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Information from: The Herald Times, https://www.heraldtimesonline.com

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