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Tacna water allegations need to be addressed
While we often take safe water for granted, it isn't always guaranteed
The Tacna allegations likely have made others in Yuma County curious about the state of the water in their homes.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are currently 33 different water suppliers that service homes in Yuma County. Only one of those facilities – the city of Yuma – posts their annual drinking water quality report on the EPA's website. However, the website does list contact information for each company, who are required to send customers an annual report by July 1 detailing what contaminants are in the water and at what levels. To learn more about your water, visit http://tinyurl.com/YumaWater, scroll down to your water supplier, and contact them directly to see how your water stacks up.
The EPA also provides a Safe Drinking Water Hotline – 1-800-426-4791 – which exists to help consumers navigate the report. Consumers can also submit comments about water quality or consumer-related water issues.
Recent reports that a Tacna water company has exceeded acceptable levels of arsenic in its water are disturbing.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issued a compliance order to Tacna Water Management Company after finding multiple violations by the company.
According to ADEQ, six samples taken between February 2011 and April 2012 by the water company showed arsenic levels between .016 milligrams and .022 milligrams per liter. The maximum contaminant level for arsenic under state and federal law is .010 milligrams per liter.
The order notes that the water company was responsible for informing its customers about the high levels of arsenic in the first three quarters of 2012, but it did not file a certification with ADEQ noting that it had done so.
Arsenic is odorless and tasteless, and usually enters the water supply in one of two ways: from natural deposits in the ground, or from runoff from agricultural or industrial activity, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Long-term exposure to arsenic can cause serious health issues.
“Non-cancer effects can include thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting; diarrhea; numbness in hands and feet; partial paralysis; and blindness. Arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate,” the web site notes.
Most water suppliers – including Tacna – are required to send consumers a report once a year detailing the state of the drinking water. ADEQ alleges that Tacna Water did not provide copies of their consumer reports to the agency, nor did they certify that reports were sent to consumers in both 2010 and 2011. That's a worrisome piece of this puzzle – how long has this gone on? And, did the company actually send the consumer reports, which are required to be sent annually?
Clean, safe drinking water is something those who live in the U.S. often take for granted. These allegations are a reminder that safe water isn't always guaranteed. Hopefully, Tacna Water will take the appropriate steps – quickly – to remedy the situation for its customers.