The Amador Water Agency does not use aluminum to treat water. However, most surface water treatment plants use alum or aluminum sulfate as a coagulant aid. This causes the small particles of dirt to become larger and heavier floc, which will settle out and be removed. Thus, very little, if any, aluminum stays in the water. Aluminum is present in large concentrations in foods such as tea. There is very little evidence to indicate that aluminum in drinking water is harmful. The EPA does not regulate aluminum.
Yes. The amount of chlorine typically used by water purveyors is safe. Some people do not like the taste, however. When Chlorine reacts with some naturally occurring chemicals in the water, disinfection byproducts are formed, which may cause cancer. EPA has established a maximum contaminant level for trihalomethanes, which is a group of disinfection byproducts. AWA’s water is under this level.
No. Some chemicals, such as fluoride, in controlled amounts, has been shown to be beneficial in tooth decay prevention. Others may be beneficial, or of no effect. Water is a chemical compound of hydrogen and oxygen. We depend on chemicals in food to keep us alive. Drinking water contains no calories, caffeine, fat, sugar, or cholesterol.
Not necessarily. Some chemicals that may be found in water naturally may be harmful, such as selenium, arsenic, and radon. Some harmless chemicals in water react with other chemicals and form harmful compounds. The U. S. E. P. A. requires public water purveyors to test for 100 different chemicals, and that list is expected to grow. If you want a current analysis of AWA’s water, please call the office at 209.223.3018 or write to: Amador Water Agency, 12800 Ridge Road, Sutter Creek, California 95685.
Organic chemicals contain carbon and hydrogen atoms linked together. Sugar is a common organic chemical, so not all organic chemicals are bad for you. Some, like gasoline, diesel fuel, and solvents, are carcinogens, that is, they may cause cancer. Conventional water treatment plants typically do not remove dissolved chemicals from the water, only particulate matter, such as bacteria and cysts.
The EPA has set a maximum contaminant level for nitrates, since a high dose of nitrates has been linked with a rare blood disorder in infants called “blue baby syndrome”, because the baby’s skin will have a bluish cast. Pesticides are organic chemicals that farmers use against insects. Private wells are the chief source of water contaminated with these chemicals. Nitrates may come from fertilizers or from human or animal wastes, such as feedlots or septic tanks. Anything applied to the land may wind up in the ground water, as rain percolates downward to the water table.
Possibly. Runoff from hazardous waste disposal sites may contaminate the water. Leaking underground storage tanks may cause contamination of the ground water. This is why the government has such strict regulations for storage tanks and liners for toxic waste dumps and gas stations.
Not all drinking water contains lead. When household plumbing contains lead solder, and the water is in contact with the solder for long periods (like overnight), there may be some lead that does dissolve and enter the water. This is also a function of the corrosivity of the water. Very hard water tends to form a scale on the walls of the pipes, and seals the solder. Lead solder has been outlawed since 1986. Testing in Amador Water Systems has not detected any lead or copper in the system above action levels set by EPA.
Not all homes have a lead problem, but if testing indicates you have one, or, if you have rusty water or water leaves a blue stain in your sink, you may want to take precautions to protect yourself and your family. The best way is to flush the faucet or hydrant you will be drinking from for a few minutes before using the water for drinking. The time needed will vary from house to house; typically, you want ‘fresh” water from the public main line.
Yes. Naturally occurring or added by the supplier, fluoride has been shown to greatly improve the dental health of the consumers. Fluoride and chlorine in the water make it unsuitable for kidney dialysis machines, however.
No. Chlorine can’t be absorbed through the skin, and the amount of chlorine is too small to harm the skin itself.
No, fluoride is not available at this time. In systems of 10,000+ connections, fluoride is required by State Regulations.
Radon is a radioactive gas found in some groundwater supplies. Radon is formed by the natural decay of radium and uranium. Scientists believe that long term exposure to radon causes cancer. Most exposure to radon comes from the ground underneath the residence through the air and into the lungs. EPA will set standards for radon in drinking water in the near future. If you suspect radon in your home, call the local health department.
A metal called manganese, which occurs naturally in water, is colorless and harmless. When combined with chlorine, it becomes black. If you have manganese, you may want to install a filter or other point of use water treatment system.
Please do not hesitate to call the Amador Water Agency if you have any concerns with the appearance, feel, taste or smell of your water. Please call the Amador Water Agency if your water changes from its normal characteristics.
Taste is very subjective, but most taste and odor problems are associated with algae or fungi present in the water supply. Chlorine, added to the water to kill germs, may react with organic chemicals and cause a bad taste. An earthy smell or taste is caused by the presence of Actinomycetes (a harmless fungus) in the raw water supply. A rotten egg odor (caused by the presence of hydrogen sulfide) may be present in a well supply. In small amounts these things are harmless. Point of use water treatment devices may help the situation some. If you have a water quality problem, call the Water Agency or your water purveyor right away.
The chemicals in the water that cause it to be colored are non-toxic, but not completely harmless. Iron is the culprit usually, and can cause stains and discolorations of clothing and fixtures. The iron is coming from the well water, or the pipes, or the hot water heater. Water softeners can help with this problem. Letting the water run usually lets it clear up. We recommend taking samples to a lab for testing.