Annual Drinking Water Report Shows Health-Based Violations Down

Kentuckians have the opportunity to compare how their water utility’s compliance rate stacks up to others in the state when they review a Division of Water (DOW) report that summarizes violations incurred by public water systems each calendar year.

This year’s Annual Compliance Report (ACR) indicates health-based violations dropped from 96 in 2011 to 48 in 2012, marking this the third straight year of declines.

Julie Roney, coordinator of the DOW Drinking Water Program, says credit for the decline should be shared among the water utilities, the Division of Compliance Assistance and DOW.

“Water utilities staff have been taking greater advantage of training provided by the Kentucky Division of Compliance Assistance to become better trained in both management and water treatment topics,” said Roney. “Within the DOW, our Compliance and Technical Assistance staff have been working very closely with utilities to advise them on how to improve their disinfection processes and how to interpret rules and regulations.

The report, required by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, lists Kentucky’s 454 public water systems and any violations imposed in the previous calendar year. The 454 systems include cities, water districts, manufactured housing communities, schools, parks and campgrounds.

Kentucky’s public water supply systems test on a regular basis for bacteria, nitrates and other inorganic chemicals, radiological elements and more than 100 industrial chemicals and pesticides. The results are monitored by DOW. A water system that exceeds the standards for a contaminant is required to take corrective action and notify its customers.

Most Kentucky water systems test their drinking water as required, submit the results to the Kentucky Division of Water on time and demonstrate that their drinking water meets the maximum contaminant levels. When discrepancies occur, DOW issues a violation. The Annual Compliance Report compiles these violations and makes them available to the public.

“The 2012 ACR reveals that the majority of violations at Kentucky’s public water systems last year involved administrative infractions rather than problems with water treatment,” said Natalie Bruner, supervisor of the DOW Drinking Water Compliance and Technical Assistance Section. “Once a violation is issued, treatment is usually adjusted very quickly and most supplies soon return to the required ranges.

Roney said the division does, however, take seriously the requirement of public water systems to submit accurate monitoring reports in a timely manner. This emphasis is reflected in the number of administrative violations, which increased from 228 in 2011 to 398 in 2012. Administrative violations include reporting incorrect data as well as omitting required information and data.

The 2012 compliance report may be viewed in summary and detailed formats at http://water.ky.gov/DrinkingWater/Pages/AnnualComplianceReports.aspx. The summary report is arranged by contaminant while the detailed document is arranged by public water system. For more information about the report, contact Natalie Bruner at 502-564-3410.

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