Consumer Reports and The Guardian conducted a nine-month investigation of contamination in the US water supply and found levels of PFAS, arsenic, and lead above the recommended maximum in many samples. The investigation took water samples from 120 people across the country “from water systems that together service more than 19 million people.”
118 of the 120 samples were found to be contaminated with detectable levels of lead. More than 35% of the samples contained PFAS at a level above the Consumer Reports safety threshold, and 8% of the samples had arsenic above the maximum for drinking water.
In response to the findings, an EPA spokesperson stated that “93% of the population supplied by community water systems gets water that meets ‘all health-based standards all of the time.’” However, while the EPA has set allowable standards for over 90 contaminants in drinking water, it does not currently have standards for PFAS, so-called “forever chemicals” that can lead to health issues in humans.
City of Lewiston Could Face Legal Action from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Due to Water Contamination
According to the Heart of Illinois ABC, the city of Lewiston, Illinois has knowingly been in violation of the IEPA standard for manganese in its water supply but has not signed a Compliance Commitment Agreement to fix the issue. This could lead to legal action from the IEPA.
The Illinois state standard for manganese in the water supply is .15 milligrams per liter, but last winter, “Lewistown was testing at more than double that, .39 milligrams per liter.” Although long-term manganese exposure in drinking water has been shown to cause issues with memory, attention and fine motor skills, the mayor of Lewiston, Doug Layfary, insists the water is safe to drink.
Boil Water Advisory Issued for Parts of Michigan, Virginia, & New York
The city of Kalamazoo, Michigan issued a boil water advisory for Friedmann Hall on the campus of Western Michigan University. The advisory does not affect any other on-campus buildings and is a precautionary measure related to a water infrastructure repair. It is expected to be lifted by the end of the week, and bottled water will be provided in Friedmann Hall during the duration of the advisory.
A boil water advisory was issued for all of Buchanan County, Virginia at the start of the week. The advisory was instituted due to a tank inspection. Buchanan County Public Service Authority officials estimate that the advisory will be lifted mid-week.
A water main break in the city of Olean, New York has led to a boil water advisory for the Homer Hill neighborhood. An emergency water main repair meant water service for the area would be disrupted for several hours. This long outage increased the chance of possible contamination in the water supply, causing the advisory until the water could be tested.