Asheboro says city water safe to drink despite elevated HAA levels

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ASHEBORO, N.C. -- Nearly 12,000 customers received notice letters attached to their water bill from Asheboro about a higher than normal level of haloacetic acid (HAA) in their drinking water.

The standard level of HAA by the Environmental Protection Agency is 0.060 milligrams per liter.

The average summary of samples from last year in Asheboro’s water supply was 0.064 milligrams per liter.

Bryan Lanier, with Water Resources, said HAA is found in all drinking water. It’s up to the staff at the plant to control and monitor the levels during the filtration process.

“It's formed when chlorine comes in contact with organic matter in the water. There's no way to really have HAA-free water, or that doesn't have it, but there are ways to prevent it and to lower the levels,” Lanier said.

In November 2016, the city budgeted for a $1.5 million filter upgrade. Lanier explained there was no particular error made for the levels to rise and that many of the causes are environmental.

“A lot of it is environmental. We have two water sources and the older they are the more organics are built up in those reservoirs,” Lanier said.

Director Michal Rhoney emphasizes there is no immediate danger to any customer who drinks from the water supply, including some residents of Seagrove and Randleman.

In the notice sent to customers states, "The City of Asheboro Water Treatment plant has made operational changes both in in the plant and in the distribution system to reduce the levels of HAA’s by adjusting chemical feed and additional flushing. These changes appear to be having a positive effect. The latest samples taken on 01/12/2017 had an average of 0.027mg/L.”

Rhoney said concerned customers have gotten phone calls soliciting water samples in their home. Rhoney said customers are more than welcome to have their water tested but the city will never call an individual customer for a sample and should be cautious of those calls.

The next sampling from the EPA will be in April.