[Special Report] City of Craig’s Drinking Water and How it’s Treated - P.O.W. Report

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

[Special Report] City of Craig’s Drinking Water and How it’s Treated

If you’ve lived on the Prince of Wales long enough, you will quickly realize that one of the biggest constant issues residents have is too much cloudy weather (not enough sun) and finding quality drinking water. Klawock is of course infamous for frequently failing their water quality tests and Thorne Bay has had water issues for years as well.

The City of Craig has by and large avoided many controversies and has been successful in treating it's water. Having had to release only two water violations notices last year and none in 2016.

Not with standing, having quality water is a top priority and a reader sent in a concern that Craig drinking water pH levels have been increasing after the reader’s home pH testing kits had seen a dramatic rise in the past few months.

The POW Report reader writes;

“I've noticed a crazy incline of pH levels in Craig’s drinking water. I test it frequently multiple times a week. It has gone from a ph level of around average 6.5 to now 8.9 to 9.2.”

“I test it about 2 to 3 times a week with a high quality blue lab ph tester and recalibrate it once a month. This has been a steady incline.

I have been testing side-by-side rainwater to tap water this whole time.

I have found the rain water is consistent and the tap water has been more alkaline every test.

"It has been slowly climbing from August 2017 to now. I didn't see any issue until I realized it has climbed that much that quick.

POW Report (being the première news source for the island) reached out to the City of Craig for comment and asked some questions regarding water treatment that residents would be interested to know about. Russell Dill, the City of Craig Public Works Director, kindly responded:

What is the safe ph range for drinking water that the City of Craig Follows?

The term pH is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions in a diluted solution. It can range from 0 to 14, with 7 denoting a neutral value. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which classifies pH as a secondary drinking water standard, recommends a pH between 6.5 and 8.5 for drinking water. The pH range for drinking water for the City of Craig is a minimum of 6.5 and a maximum of 8.5 in accordance with 40 CFR 143.3.

When was the last ph drinking water test and what was it?

As of February 15th, 2018 Finished Water pH reading was 7.70, with an average for the month to date of 7.95.

Should people be concerned with a test of 9.2 and what would be the best response for them?

Drinking water with a pH level above 8.5 does not pose a health risk.

What are the series of tests and steps that the City of Craig goes through to treat the drinking water

The series of steps that the City of Craig uses to treat Raw Water is as follows: Raw water is gravity fed into the treatment plant from the local reservoir, coagulants are added to the water and velocity is slowed down through the settling basin. The water is then gravity fed into the filters, and from the filters into the chlorine contact chamber. After a particular detention time is achieved and the required chlorination levels are met, soda ash is added for corrosion control as it is cascaded into the clear well. The treated water is then pumped from the water treatment plant to the Port Saint Nicholas water tank. The water is then gravity fed into the distribution system.

What are all the tests for water that the City looks for in order pass?

Required reports by the ADEC and DNR are as follows: Daily entry point chlorine residual, gallons of water produced daily, quarterly Total Organic Carbon (TOC),Alkalinity, TTHM’s, HAA5, and filter performance.

• Minimum residual disinfectant level for chlorine at entry point for the City of Craig is 0.4 mg/l, and Maximum residual disinfectant level for chlorine is 4.0 mg/l in accordance with 40 CFR 141.65 MRDL

• Current Average MGD ( Million Gallons per Day) is 0.130 TO 0.150

• Quarterly TOC’s was 1.34 mg/l (4th quarter sampling in December of 2017)

• Quarterly Alkalinity was Non-Detect (4th quarter sampling in December of 2017)

• TTHM’s were 62.8 ug/l. MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level) is 80 ug/l. (1st quarter sampling in January of 2018)

• HAA5 was 19 ug/l. MCL IS 60 ug/l (1st quarter sampling in January of 2018)

• Turbidity is measured in NTU’s (Nephelometric Turbidity Unit) the City of Craig’s MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level) is 0.3 NTU. For the month of January, the City of Craig reported a 98.4% turbidity removal. If turbidity exceeds 1.49 NTU, the City of Craig is required to report to the State of Alaska within 24 hours.

Samples were conducted in the water distribution system. The highest reading in the distribution system was a pH of 9.37. City of Craig staff has made adjustments to lower the pH as required. The City of Craig staff will continue to monitor this water quality concern and make adjustments as needed. Reduction in pH levels should be noticeable by 02.19.18

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