For the third year in a row the Hannibal Board of Public Works finds itself having to advise its customers that a recent water sample was found to contain Disinfection Byproducts above drinking water standards.

For the third year in a row the Hannibal Board of Public Works finds itself having to advise its customers that a recent water sample was found to contain Disinfection Byproducts above drinking water standards.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) are formed when chlorine combines with naturally occurring organic matter in water. Regulated DBPs consist of Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Haloacetic Acids.

Long-term exposure - drinking two liters of water every day for 70 years – to water with THMs in excess of the maximum contaminant level could in some people cause problems with their liver, kidneys or central nervous system. They may also have an increased risk of getting cancer.

“It’s a potential carcinogen,” acknowledged Heath Hall, director of operations for the BPW. “But if you have one glass today that’s above the limit, there’s no acute danger.”

The BPW routinely monitors for the presence of drinking water contaminants. Samples are taken in four predetermined locations throughout the water system each quarter and sent to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) laboratory for compliance testing. The results from the latest test were received by the BPW on Dec. 5.

If this advisory sounds familiar, it’s not surprising. Local test results began exceeding the state limits in September 2011.

“I’ve probably done six of these (DBP announcements) the last couple of years,” said Hall. “We’re still in violation and still working toward getting it back in compliance. Until we do the solution that our engineer gives us, and we perform construction, we’re going to be in violation.”

According to Hall, about a year ago the MDNR told the BPW regular public notices were no longer necessary.

“We had an agreement with DNR where they gave us an extension to meet requirements for the new regulations,” he said. “They have now decided we have to do the public notice, so every quarter we’re going to keep doing it at least for the next year, until we meet compliance.”

The BPW believes it is close to making a large step toward compliance.

“We’re really close to getting our study finalized. We thought it was done, but DNR didn’t approve it. They’ve got some questions so we’re still going back and forth with them,” said Hall.

Hall reports the MDNR has suggested the BPW have the University of Missouri-Columbia do a chemical analysis of the water filter plant.

“We’re going to meet a guy (from MU) on Friday and hopefully start that process. Everything depends on cost,” he said.