Yavapai Gaming - Sept.

Home | Classifieds | Place an ad | Obituaries | Public Notices | Galleries | Opinions | Real Estate Search | 928 Media Lab | Contact Us | Subscribe | Yellow Pages
Prescott Valley Tribune | Prescott Valley, Arizona

home : latest news : d-h news September 14, 2014


7/25/2012 9:54:00 AM
Unsafe water notifications questioned in Humboldt
Customers told in May of high nitrate levels in March tests
Landon Eitemiller, 5, sips on bottled water, the only water his parents, Brian and Rose Eitemiller, allow him to drink at home. The Eitemillers receive their tap water from the Humboldt Water System, which tested high in nitrates in March and tested less than the maximum levels in April. The Eitemillers say the water company failed to notify them of high nitrate levels.
Trib Photo/Sue Tone
Landon Eitemiller, 5, sips on bottled water, the only water his parents, Brian and Rose Eitemiller, allow him to drink at home. The Eitemillers receive their tap water from the Humboldt Water System, which tested high in nitrates in March and tested less than the maximum levels in April. The Eitemillers say the water company failed to notify them of high nitrate levels.
Trib Photo/Sue Tone

Sue Tone
Reporter


A state environmental agency is requiring the Humboldt Water System to conduct quarterly testing of its nitrate levels after test results in March revealed higher than maximum contaminant levels. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality placed the water company on a more frequent testing schedule after finding nitrate levels of 11 mg/L in samples pulled March 15. The maximum level allowed by federal and state law is 10 mg/L.

Even though further tests on April 17 showed the nitrate levels had dropped to 8.7 mg/L, the company didn't notify its customers. In fact, it wasn't until May that some customers found out about the high levels in March.

HWS posted a warning notice at the Chevron Market and the Humboldt Post Office on May 15, which warned that giving water to infants six months old and younger could cause serious illness and, if untreated, could lead to death.

The two-month delay in notification is leaving customers of the Humboldt Water System - about 323 service connections on a 300-meter distribution system - wondering whether the water is safe to drink or not.

Tim Kyllo, president and owner of Humboldt Water System, told the ADEQ that he provided his water users with an individual customer mailing about the high nitrate level, but at least two customers said that never happened.

Rose Eitemiller said she saves all her water bills and she did not get personal notice of the warning on her billing statement. What she did see at the bottom of her April-May statement, was "Important nitrate drinking warning is available online at http://www.utilitybillingonline.com/sites/hws/." The link took her to the water company's 2011 Consumer Confidence Report, which indicated the highest nitrate level for the 2011 reporting period was 6 mg/L. The billing statement included no mention of the recent high levels of nitrates.

Thirteen days after ADEQ notified Kyllo of the March 15 test result of 11 mg/L, the company retested its water. The March 28 test came back with a slightly higher nitrate level at 11.4 mg/L. But by the third test on April 17, ADEQ found the level had dropped to 8.7 mg/L on total nitrate, which is below the exceedance level.

Kyllo said nitrate levels fluctuate naturally and he doesn't use any process to lower levels.

"If they remain over the maximum contaminant level, a filtration system would be necessary to maintain lower levels," he said.

Nitrates occur naturally during erosion of natural deposits. It also happens with runoff from fertilizer use, septic tank leakage, and sewage. Dewey-Humboldt has no wastewater treatment facility; homes and businesses operate with their own septic system.

Ken Johnson, project manager for the Humboldt Unified School District, said to his knowledge the Humboldt Elementary School, one of the water company's customers, did not receive a public notice either.

"It would have been brought to my attention," Johnson said.

The school district recently put in a $350,000 filtration system on the school's septic operation, based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements, to lower nitrate levels in its effluent, or outgoing wastewater. Johnson said the neighborhood's older septic systems could contribute to nitrate leaching into the water table and causing problems for the Humboldt Water System. Most of the homes are not in compliance, he said, and the owners don't have the money to do anything about their septic systems.

D-H Town Manager Yvonne Kimball confirmed that all town residents and businesses are on individual private septic tank systems, which is monitored by the Yavapai County Environmental Services.

As to the 11 mg/L nitrate levels, Johnson said, "That's awfully close; it could have been in the instrumentation or maybe the filtering system needed service."

The HWS 2011 Consumer Confidence Report indicates the highest nitrate level detected in 2011 was 6 mg/L. It also states, "High nitrate levels in drinking water can cause blue baby syndrome. Nitrate level may rise quickly for short periods of time because of rainfall or agricultural activity. If you are caring for an infant, and detected nitrate levels area above 5 ppm (parts per million), you should ask advice from your health care provider."

Mark Shaffer, public relations officer with ADEQ, quoted state law relating to public notice requirements in a July 9 email to the Tribune: "Pursuant to § 141.202.c, the public notice shall be served within 24 hours in a form and manner reasonably calculated to reach all persons served. The form and manner used by the public water system are to fit the specific situation, but must be designed to reach residential, transient, and non-transient users of the water system."

ADEQ is requiring quarterly sampling at the Humboldt Water System at the main well, backup well and booster station. The April 17 inspection report states that all three were in compliance with nitrate levels of 8.4, 6.7, and 8.7 mg/L respectively.

Shaffer said ADEQ contacted HWS on July 2 to get the second quarter water results. "The certified operator there was instructed not to sample unless ADEQ told them to do so," Shaffer said in an email on July 16. Yesterday he confirmed the system's certified operator tested the water on July 17, and ADEQ expects to receive the results "within the next week or two."

"There's no timetable in play on enforcement matters in deciding if we are going to issue a notice of violation," Shaffer said. "We are continuing to investigate this matter."

Related Stories:
• Humboldt water tests high in arsenic
• Humboldt Water receives notice of 7 violations


    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Dewey-Humboldt needs strategic plan on museum purchase appraisal (6 comments)
Dewey-Humboldt Mayor faces ethics violation hearing (9 comments)
Carbon Pawprint: Should pets be banned? (1 comment)
Blog: Does it really take a village to raise a child, or are we a society in collapse? (7 comments)
Former teacher is newest member of HUSD board (1 comment)


Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012
Article comment by: More to the story

How funny that nobody mentions the leading cause of high nitrates in water sourcing from a rural area is agriculture and ranching. I know where Humboldt Water's wells are. Show me a single failing septic system in that area. Better yet, get Yavapai County Environmental Services to do it.



Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Prescott Valley, AZ
Click for weather forecast





Find It Features Blogs Milestones Extras Submit Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place an ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Opinions | Real Estate Search | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
HSE - Cookie Contest

© Copyright 2014 Prescott Newspapers, Inc. The Prescott Valley Tribune is the information source for Prescott Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Prescott Newspapers Online is a service of Prescott Newspapers, Inc. By using the Site, pvtrib.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Prescott Newspapers Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2014 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved