DEWEY-HUMBOLDT - The high nitrate level in Humboldt Water System's test sample this past March was only one piece of bad news for Tim Kyllo, owner of the water company that serves about 350 customers in Humboldt.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality filed a Notice of Violation against Kyllo in late July citing seven violations as a result of an annual inspection report from April 17.
A Notice of Violation, or NOV, is an "informal compliance assurance tool" that ADEQ uses to put a responsible party on notice.
The notice describes the facts, cites the corresponding requirements, and provides an opportunity for the owner or operator to meet with ADEQ officials, demonstrate that no violation has occurred, or that the owner had corrected the violation.
Kyllo said in an email to the Tribune this past week that he has met with ADEQ, and his company has begun an intensive testing schedule for both arsenic and nitrates.
Any abnormal test results will result in notification to the general public, he said. In addition, the company has removed one of the two wells from service.
The violations cited in the July notice include:
1. No emergency operation plan.
2. One of the two wells exceeded the maximum contaminant level of arsenic with 0.017 mg/l (MCL for arsenic is 0.010).
3. Exceedence of MCL for nitrates as tested March 15 and March 28 with 11 mg/l and 11.4 mg/l respectively (MCL for nitrate is 10 mg/l).
4. Failure to provide public notice of the nitrate levels within 24 hours of receiving test results. The company posted the notice on May 15.
5. Failure to perform a microscopic particle analysis test on both wells to determine whether the system's groundwater source is under direct influence of surface water, as requested by ADEQ on Sept. 4, 2009.
6. Failure to obtain Approval to Construct to blend water from the well containing high arsenic levels with water from the second well with lower arsenic levels prior to entering the distribution system.
7. Relating to #6, Humboldt Water did not obtain an Approval of Construction to blend water.
Mark Shaffer, spokesperson with ADEQ, said in an Aug. 17 email the agency's water quality utility field services unit met with Kyllo on Aug. 2 to discuss the NOV. Kyllo provided a copy of the emergency operations plan, which met one of the compliance conditions of the NOV.
During the April 17 inspection, ADEQ found concentrations of arsenic in the backup well tested at 0.017
mg/l, higher than the 0.010 mg/l allowed by state regulations. The main well tested at 0.0068 mg/l and the booster station at 0.0089.
Kyllo blended the water from the two wells before sending it out to customers, ADEQ said. The final blended water was below the 0.010 mg/l level, but the company's blending plan needs modification and approval by ADEQ.
In addition, if the wells are in a 100-year flood plain, the company will need to extend the height of the well head by 12 inches above the flood height. ADEQ also told the company it must develop and submit an emergency operation plan, which Kyllo said it has done.
The April 17 inspection report also states: "According to Mr. Rutherford [Doug Rutherford, HWS manager], the distribution system has numerous leaks and the pumps run continuously with no need of a hydro-pneumatic or pressure tank."
ADEQ requires the company to fix the leaks.
"If leaks are large enough, they can create a backflow condition in the event of a water outage," the report states.
Kyllo said he has cleared up all questions regarding April's site inspection.
Shaffer said ADEQ has 30 days from the receipt of Kyllo's response to reply to Kyllo; ADEQ is preparing a letter, which he declined to disclose at this time.
Kyllo said the results of the first quarterly sampling for nitrates on July 17 reported a level of 5.5 mg/l, below the maximum allowable level of 10 mg/l.
Posted: Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Article comment by:
Way too much big government sticking their nose into the hows and whys of our water.
Let them do what they want - after all, if it ain't good - nobody will buy it, right? That's how it should work.
Posted: Saturday, August 25, 2012
Article comment by:
Well well. Can't say that I am surprised. This is just one broken cog in the system that is HWS. Recently we had a main break and several in the area called regarding the tons of water flowing down the road. When calling you are dispatched to a California company. When they finally allowed us to speak to Doug Reynolds of HWS, he said that he was not going to address the issue until 6 am the next morning. [It was first reported to HWS around 6 pm the night before.] Meanwhile thousands of gallons wasting down the road. Also, there have been instances where they are fixing the pumps or a water line and shut off your water without notice. This happens all the time and at different parts of the day.If you ask me, someone else needs to to take over the water here, because HWS fails at more than what the article states.