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Petersburg, Virginia Water Quality Report

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Sources Of Drinking Water in Petersburg, Virginia

Where does Petersburg's water come from? The Brasfield Dam impounds portion of the Appomattox River, forming Chesdin Reservoir. The Chesdin Reservoir water storage volume estimates since 1968 are:

· 1968 As-built estimate = 12 billion gallons of water

· 2001 Recalculated 1968 as-built estimate based on 2001 Source Water Study by Gannett Fleming. This was determined from digitizing original contour maps = 10.5 billion gallons of water

· 2000 Bathymetric Survey = 9.6 billion gallons of water

· 2011 Bathymetric Survey = 9.3 billion gallons of water

Raw Water Pumping Station #1 (RWPS#1):  Raw lake water passes through a bar screen in the dam that prevents large debris from entering the pump well of the dam. Water can be taken from one of four depths of the lake: four feet, 14 feet, 24 feet, or 33 feet. Water then passes through a traveling screen that removes debris down to approximately 1/2″ in size. One or more of five pumps sends the water to the treatment plant by a 42″ water line. Potassium permanganate can be added here as a pre-oxidant.

Raw Water Pumping Station #2 (RWPS#2):  Raw water can enter the system from underwater screens at 7 feet and 20 feet. Water is pumped by a combination of five pumps (2 pumps at 20 mgd and 3 pumps at 10 mgd) to the treatment plant by a 54″ water line. Potassium permanganate can be added here as a pre-oxidant.

Chlorine Dioxide:  A feed point for chlorine dioxide addition is located immediately downstream from the Raw Water Meter for feeding chlorine dioxide as a pre-disinfectant/oxidant. Chlorine Dioxide is used to reduce TTHMs and HAAs formation in the plant.

Rapid Mix Building:  Water enters the rapid mix building and pre-feed chemicals are mixed. Lime (pH adjustment and alkalinity addition) and alum (coagulant) can be added here. The water passes through a combination of mixing chamber and is mixed by one or both of the turbine mixers.

Flocculators:  Raw water with chemicals added is sent to flocculators. All flocculators are horizontal paddles and over/under baffles. As the mixture proceeds through the three chambers of the basins, stirring is done at progressively slower speeds called step flocculation. Polymer is normally added to the water to aid in coagulation.

What is floc?

floc noun: a small, loosely aggregated mass of flocculent material, suspended in or precipitated from a liquid.

flocculent adjective: having a fluffy character or appearance.
1 : resembling wool, especially in loose, fluffy organization.
2 : containing, consisting of, or occurring in the form of loosely aggregated particles or soft flakes; a flocculent precipitate.

Coagulation or Settling Basins:  Water is distributed from the floc basins into one of twelve  settling basins. The majority of the floc created by chemical addition drops to the bottom of the basins, because of the density and weight of the floc. Sludge is removed daily by siphon from the basins using a ClariVac system. The settled water is taken off the top at the ends of the basins by weir launderers and flows into a pre-filter flume from one end of the plant to the other.

Filter Building:  Water is distributed from the settling basin flume into the filters. There are 32 filters that work in pairs, #1 – 8 (1968) capable of 2.75 mgd each, 8 filters, #9-16 (1985) capable of 3.00 mgd each, and 16 filters #17 -32 (2006) capable of 3.125 mgd. Normally filters are used at less than the maximum rate of flow. All filters have Carbon Caps which consist of 24” of Granular Activated Carbon (GAC). Filters are backwashed when the first of the following conditions occurs:

  1. 100 hours of operation since back washing,
  2. 6 feet of head loss has occurred or
  3. Turbidity =/>0.10 NTU. Normally turbidity is the controlling factor.

Pipe Gallery and Post Chemical Area:  Water from filters in operation is collected by a header pipe system in the pipe gallery and finally into a 54-inch pipe, where sodium hydroxide (pH adjustment to greater than seven), chlorine (for disinfection), phosphate (for pipe corrosion protection), and fluoride (for tooth decay protection) is added.

Post-chemical Addition:  Water leaves the plant area and is piped to a mixer where the post chemicals are added and mixed. SCADA (which is Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) control then allows a sample of water to be taken, and the proper adjustment to caustic soda, fluoride and chlorine to be made. Water goes into a clearwell (5.5 million gallons) where the required contact time with chlorine is obtained.

After leaving this clearwell, the water is sampled, additional chlorine is added, ammonia is added, and caustic soda may be added. The chlorine and ammonia mix is called chloramines, a weaker but longer-lasting disinfectant than chlorine.Water is then metered to help with the automatic chemical adjustment, and stored in two other clearwells totaling 6.5 million gallons.

Finished Water Pumping Station:  The Authority can deliver water from our clearwells to our members by gravity flow or through our pumps stations. Up to 30 mgd can be deliver by gravity flow. When additional flows are needed the Authority can pump from one of our two pumps stations on site. Finished Water Pump Station 1 has 2 pumps rate at 8 MGD and 3 pumps rated at 16 MGD. Finished Water Pump Station 2 has three pumps rated at 23 mgd. Is Petersburg's water safe to drink?

Source: City of Petersburg, VA

Contaminants Found in Petersburg'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 Petersburg, Virginia Compared to Other Regions

Bromodichloromethane

- Health Guideline: 0.06 ppb

 - State: 3.79 ppb

 - Petersburg, VA: 3.95 ppb

 - National: 4.38 ppb

Chloroform

 - Health Guideline: 1.0 ppb

 - State: 16.8 ppb

 - National: 11.4 ppb

 - Petersburg, VA: 23.7 ppb

Chromium (hexavalent)

 - Health Guideline: 0.02 ppb

 - Petersburg, VA: 0.0521 ppb

 - State: 0.120 ppb

 - National: 0.782 ppb

Dibromochloromethane 

  - Legal Limit: 4 ppb

 - State: 1.28 ppb

 - National: 0.440 ppb 

 - Petersburg, VA: 1.188 ppb

Dichloroacetic acid

 - Health Guideline: 0.7 ppb

 - State: 8.08 ppb

 - National: 6.00 ppb

 - Petersburg, VA: 15.0 ppb

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

 - Health Guideline: 0.8 ppb

 - State: 27.9 ppb

 - National: 23.4 ppb

 - Petersburg, VA: 27.8 ppb

Trichloroacetic acid

 - Health Guideline: 0.5 ppb

 - State: 8.69 ppb

 - National: 4.93 ppb

 - Petersburg, VA: 8.45 ppb

Fluoride

 - Legal Limit: 4 ppb

 - State: 0.692 ppb

 - National: 0.440 ppb 

 - Petersburg, VA: 0.780 ppb

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April Jones

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

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