City switches labs after water sample violations in 2015, 2017
Marion’s water will now flow to a different laboratory after the city violated drinking water standards because an independent laboratory failed to send test results to the state.
Mandatory drinking water notices distributed Aug. 9 to utility customers said the public water supply system failed to complete some contaminant monitoring in May 2017 and November and December 2015. The state did not receive a test for bromate in the water.
“The violation is not because we’ve ever had bromate show up — using a third-party out-of-state laboratory, test samples got lost,” said city administrator Roger Holter.
Bromate is a potential byproduct of the ozone system used to “scrub” the water, which is more effective than chlorine, Holter said.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment requires bromate monitoring for systems that use ozone, but so few municipalities use ozone that the state’s lab doesn’t test for it, Holter said, requiring the city to send samples to independent labs.
Holter said documents show the city sent a May sample to the lab, but the lab did not send results to the state that month. Instead, the lab sent the sample late, and the state received the May sample in June, along with the June sample. This violated the monthly reporting requirement.
The lab had the same problem in November and December 2015, which had to be included in the notice.
The city switched to a new lab, Eurofins Eaton Analytical, after June because of the reporting issue.
“(The previous lab) delivered good quality reports for us, they just can’t help us keep it on time,” Holter said. “It’s not fair to our citizens.”
Research suggests bromate is a carcinogen in animals, even though there is insufficient evidence as to whether it causes cancer in humans, according to the World Health Organization.
Bromate is used in bread additives and food preservatives.
The Environmental Protection Agency set 10 micrograms per liter as the bromated concentration limit. July testing showed Marion’s water has fewer than 5 micrograms per liter.
The laboratory equipment is not sophisticated enough to measure concentrations below 5 micrograms.
“We don’t want to have lapses in the testing process, but the biggest message is it was a reporting issue, it’s not a water quality issue,” Holter said.
Last modified Aug. 17, 2017