Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Metro Water Rep Tells Salemtown Neighbors Non-Chlorine Treatment Switch Years Away

Metro Water Services communications rep Sonia Harvat spoke to our neighborhood association last night about odor control, stormwater run-off fees and several other issues of interest to the community in which her employer sits. Perhaps the most animated exchange occurred on the issue of MWS's use of chlorine in water treatment, its connections to iodine depletion and health problems including cancer and thyroid disorders, and the vulnerability to the exposed chlorine tankers near the Cumberland River greenway and the I-65 bridge at MetroCenter.

Ms. Harvat told the group that she is concerned about reports that some of us have had tests conducted that show high levels of chlorine, but she also maintained that our close proximity to the treatment plant should not result in higher chlorine exposure than someone who lived in Brentwood. She said that she would ask a water services technician to test the chlorine level of tap water in Salemtown and make adjustments if there was an imbalance. While she did acknowledge that MWS wanted to switch to safer non-chlorine methods of water treatment, the expense of making that change puts that prospect in the distant future.

MWS should be monitoring the levels of chlorine in the neighborhoods around the plant while moving with all due diligence to a less toxic method for treating water. In the mean time, residents should have their water independently tested. Harvat maintained that the chlorine level of tap water should not go above 3.5. When we had ours tested recently with a simple pool kit, it was at 5. Someone with Metro should also be monitoring the number reported thyroid disorder cases in communities around chlorine-treatment plants to determine whether there is a higher public safety risk.

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