Kentucky’s drinking water continues excellence in quality, reliability, annual report shows

Increase in health-based violations result from rule changes and reporting issues

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 30, 2015) – Data from Kentucky’s 446 public water systems shows they consistently produce excellent quality water and are nearly always in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water requirements, according to the Kentucky annual
Drinking Water Report. The report summarizes the compliance data and status of public water system compliance monitoring results.

The Safe Drinking Water Act rules require Kentucky’s public water systems to regularly test produced water for more than 100 contaminants such as bacteria, nitrates and other chemicals. The Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) reviews the results and issues the report. A water system that exceeds the standards for a contaminant is required to take corrective action and notify its customers.

“This report illustrates that Kentucky public water systems, which serve more than Public Water System Trends95 percent of Kentuckians, reliably provide high-quality drinking water to citizens,” said Pete Goodmann, director of DOW. “Given all the challenges faced by public water systems, this record of compliance is admirable. In those few circumstances where we identify issues of concern, the division works with the public water system to address these concerns appropriately.”

The annual report is required by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and lists Kentucky’s 446 public water systems and all notices of violation issued in the previous calendar year.  Most of the violations recorded are administrative violations regarding issues with monitoring and reporting. Kentucky’s public water systems continue to show improvement in this area with monitoring and reporting violations decreasing more than 250 violations per year over the past two years.

The annual drinking water reports had shown a progressive decrease in the number of health-based violations over the past several years. However, as anticipated, the number of health-based violations at public water systems increased in 2014, with the implementation of new Safe Drinking Water Act requirements for some public water systems.

Health-based violations increased from 52 violations in 2013, to 115 violations in 2014. These 115 health-based violations constitute only 0.14 percent of more than 82,000 test results evaluated each year.

The increase of health-based violations is attributed to the implementation of the “Stage 2 Disinfection Byproduct Rule,” a new rule from the federal government. Disinfection byproducts (DPBs) are a class of contaminants that result from the interaction of disinfection chemicals such as chlorine with other chemicals in the water.

The new federal rule requires public water systems that purchase water from another public water system and redistribute that water to their customers (purchaser systems) to monitor for and meet new standards, including standards for DPBs, from which they were previously exempt. Several water systems experienced an increase in health-based violations because of the implementation of these more stringent standards. The increase in health-based violations is not reflective of a change in water quality.

“Once a Notice of Violation is issued, the water systems adjust their treatment and distribution processes and most supplies return to compliance with the standards,” said Brian Chitti, supervisor of the DOW Compliance and Technical Assistance Section. “The division takes seriously the requirement of public water systems to submit timely and accurate monitoring reports. This is also reflected in the number of administrative violations issued in 2014.”

The report is online at

For more information, contact Brian Chitti at 502-564-3410.