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Augusta, Georgia Water Quality Report

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Sources Of Drinking Water in Augusta, Georgia

Where does Augusta's water come from? The City of Augusta's water customers are very fortunate because we enjoy an abundant water supply from two sources. The Highland Avenue Water Treatment Facility draws water from the Savannah River, which is pumped via the Historic Augusta Canal Pumping Station to our reservoirs, which hold about 125 million gallons of water. Our second water source is from the Crutaceous Aquifer hundreds of feet below ground in south Augusta. Combined, our treatment facilities provide roughly 15.5 billion gallons of clean drinking water every year for our customers. 

The treatment process for surface water consists of a series of steps. First, raw water is drawn from our reservoir and sent to a mixing tank where chlorine is added to pre-disinfect the water. Then, aluminum sulfate and polymer are added to the mixture. The addition of these substances causes small particles to adhere to one another (called floc), making them heavy enough to settle out as the water slowly moves from one end of the basin to the other. At the end of the basin, the clear water travels over weirs and into flumes that take the water to the filters. The water is then filtered through layers of anthracite, gravel and silicate sand. As smaller, suspended particles are removed, turbidity disappears and clear water emerges. Chlorine is added again as a precaution against any bacteria that could form in the distribution system. (We carefully monitor the amount of chlorine, adding the lowest quantity necessary to protect the safety of your water without compromising taste.) 

Finally, lime (used to adjust the final pH and alkalinity), fluoride (used to prevent tooth decay), and a corrosion inhibitor (used to protect distribution system pipes) are added before the water is pumped to sanitized, underground clear wells, water tanks, and into your home or business. For our groundwater we have production wells that remove water and send it to a facility where the water is treated. The first step is aeration, which is used to removed volatile organics from the water. Next we add lime for pH adjustment, fluoride to reduce tooth decay, chlorine for disinfection, and, last, a polymer for corrosion control. The water then moves through a contact or mixing chamber and then into the clear well, where it is held until needed and pumped out into the distribution system for customer consumption.  Is Augusta's water safe to drink?

Source: City of Augusta, GA

Contaminants Found in Augusta's Water Supply

(Detected above health guidelines)

Bromodichloromethane

Bromodichloromethane, one of the total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), is formed when chlorine or other disinfectants are used to treat drinking water. Bromodichloromethane and other disinfection byproducts increase the risk of cancer and may cause problems during pregnancy.

Chloroform

Chloroform, one of the total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), is formed when chlorine or other disinfectants are used to treat drinking water. Chloroform and other disinfection byproducts increase the risk of cancer and may cause problems during pregnancy.

Chromium (Hexavalent)

Chromium (hexavalent) is a carcinogen that commonly contaminates American drinking water. Chromium (hexavalent) in drinking water may be due to industrial pollution or natural occurrences in mineral deposits and groundwater.

Dibromochloromethane

Dibromochloromethane, one of the total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), is formed when chlorine or other disinfectants are used to treat drinking water.

Dichloroacetic acid

Dichloroacetic acid, one of the group of five haloacetic acids regulated by federal standards, is formed when chlorine or other disinfectants are used to treat drinking water. Haloacetic acids and other disinfection byproducts increase the risk of cancer and may cause problems during pregnancy.

Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

Trihalomethanes are cancer-causing contaminants that form during water treatment with chlorine and other disinfectants. The total trihalomethanes group includes four chemicals: chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane and bromoform.

Trichloroacetic Acid

Trichloroacetic acid, one of the group of five haloacetic acids regulated by federal standards, is formed when chlorine or other disinfectants are used to treat drinking water. Haloacetic acids and other disinfection byproducts increase the risk of cancer and may cause problems during pregnancy. 

Fluoride

Fluoride occurs naturally in surface and groundwater and is also added to drinking water by many water systems. The fluoride that is added to water is not the naturally occurring kind, the main chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water are known as “silicofluorides” (i.e., hydrofluorosilicic acid and sodium fluorosilicate). Silicofluorides are not pharmaceutical-grade fluoride products; they are unprocessed industrial by-products of the phosphate fertilizer industry (Gross!). Since these silicofluorides undergo no purification procedures, they can contain elevated levels of arsenic — moreso than any other water treatment chemical. In addition, recent research suggests that the addition of silicofluorides to water is a risk factor for elevated lead exposure, particularly among residents who live in homes with old pipes.

Potential Health Effects of Consuming These Contaminants

Health risks of Bromodichloromethane in excess of health guideline

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.4 ppb for bromodichloromethane was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a one-in-a-million lifetime risk of cancer. Values greater than one-in-a-million cancer risk level can result in increased cancer cases above one in a million people.

Health risks of Chloroform in excess of health guideline

Cancer: The health guideline of 1 ppb for chloroform was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a one-in-a-million lifetime risk of cancer. Values greater than one-in-a-million cancer risk level can result in increased cancer cases above one in a million people.

Health risks of Dibromochloromethane in excess of health guideline 

Cancer & Pregnancy: Dibromochloromethane, one of the total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), is formed when chlorine or other disinfectants are used to treat drinking water. Dibromochloromethane and other disinfection byproducts increase the risk of cancer and may cause problems during pregnancy


Health risks of Chromium (Hexavalent) in excess of health guideline

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.02 ppb for chromium (hexavalent) was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal, the level of a drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Health risks of Dichloroacetic acid in excess of health guideline

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.7 ppb for dichloroacetic acid was defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as a one-in-a-million lifetime risk of cancer. Values greater than one-in-a-million cancer risk level can result in increased cancer cases above one in a million people.

Health risks of Trihalomethanes in excess of health guideline

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.8 ppb for trihalomethanes was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a draft public health goal, the level of drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Health risks of Trichloroacetic acid in excess of health guideline

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.5 ppb for trichloroacetic acid was defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as a one-in-a-million lifetime risk of cancer. Values greater than one-in-a-million cancer risk level can result in increased cancer cases above one in a million people.

Contaminant Levels in Augusta, GA Compared to Other Regions

Bromodichloromethane

- Health Guideline: 0.06 ppb

 - State: 1.78 ppb

 - Augusta, GA: 7.16 ppb

 - National: 4.38 ppb

Chloroform

 - Health Guideline: 1.0 ppb

 - State: 6.66 ppb

 - National: 11.4 ppb

 - Augusta, GA: 22.4 ppb

Chromium (hexavalent)

 - Health Guideline: 0.02 ppb

 - Augusta, GA: 0.0882 ppb

 - State: 0.140 ppb

 - National: 0.782 ppb

Dibromochloromethane 

  - Legal Limit: 4 ppb

 - State: 0.716 ppb

 - National: 0.440 ppb 

 - Augusta, GA: 1.27 ppb

Dichloroacetic acid

 - Health Guideline: 0.7 ppb

 - State: 3.19 ppb

 - National: 6.00 ppb

 - Augusta, GA: 11.5 ppb

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

 - Health Guideline: 0.8 ppb

 - State: 11.8 ppb

 - National: 23.4 ppb

 - Augusta, GA: 31.4 ppb

Trichloroacetic acid

 - Health Guideline: 0.5 ppb

 - State: 3.65 ppb

 - National: 4.93 ppb

 - Augusta, GA: 13.7 ppb

Fluoride

 - Legal Limit: 4 ppb

 - State: 0.405 ppb

 - National: 0.440 ppb 

 - Augusta, GA: 0.640 ppb

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April Jones

A Colorado based hiker, blogger, and water quality expert...

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