Important Water Information
Because we take water quality very seriously, OUC’s state-certified water quality lab routinely conducts thousands of chemical and bacteriological water-quality tests for contaminants. On August 16, we discovered an elevated reading in the south east area of our system as part of our quarterly testing for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). While this happens more frequently in other water systems, this is a rare occurrence for ours.
Rest assured, the water is safe to drink and use for bathing, cooking and other needs.
Per the FDEP, when the Running Annual Average (RAAs) of the quarterly readings is above the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 80 parts per billion (ppb), OUC is required to notify customers in the surrounding area. Because the third quarter result on August 16 was 93.14 ppb for Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs), the RAA is 81.11 ppb.
The Southeast section of our water system is served from the Conway and Sky Lake Water Treatment Facilities. The distribution system is overbuilt to meet fire protection standards and for growth in the Lake Nona area. A combination of slower-than-anticipated growth and low-use-of irrigation due to rain reduced water flow in the distribution piping for an extended period of time which can lead to an increase in TTHMs.
OUC has increased the flow of water in the pipes to limit the amount of time water stays within the distribution system. Additionally, although the FDEP only requires quarterly samples, we are conducting daily tests to ensure our levels are within the allotted range. We began additional monitoring on August 20 and will continue through September 15.
On August 31, OUC sent customers in the Lake Nona area a letter about this exceedance in their water ratings. We have provided a list of FAQs below to help reassure you that your water is safe to drink and use for bathing, cooking and other needs. Additionally, we will post any daily reads here until September 15.
|3rd Quarter 2019
|2nd Quarter 2019
|1st Quarter 2019
|4th Quarter 2018
|TTHM in ug/L
5 Day Average
||Sampling suspended due to Hurricane Dorian
For more information about your water, view the OUC’s 2018 Water Quality Report here.
Is my water safe to use?
Yes, the water is safe to consume and use for other needs.
Why am I being notified?
All public water systems are required by state and federal law to notify users of any exceedance of water quality standards affecting their water system. Recently OUC discovered a slightly elevated reading and while this happens more frequently in other water systems, this is a rare occurrence for us. You were notified because we take water quality very seriously and want you to know what happened and how we have addressed it.
What are TTHMs?
TTHMs are by-products of the reaction of the chlorine disinfectant with natural organic and inorganic matter in the water.
What caused the elevated levels?
If water stays in the distribution piping for an extended period of time prior to consumption, this can lead to an increase in the TTHM amount.
Why is chlorine in the water?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) require the use of a disinfectant to minimize the possibility of bacterial contamination in the drinking water distribution system. At OUC we use chlorine because it is considered to be the highest quality disinfectant.
What steps has OUC taken to correct this issue?
Since slightly elevated TTHM levels were found at our southeast Orlando sampling site, OUC has increased the flow of water in the pipes to limit the amount of time water stays within the distribution system. Additionally, we have expanded daily monitoring and tracking and the results continue to be within the acceptable range.
How is my drinking water monitored?
The Environmental Protection Agency sets guidelines for acceptable levels of TTHM and other contaminants in the water supply and also for the reporting of violations. EPA guidelines for TTHM are based on the average test results over a one-year period (the four most recent samples collected).
Where does my water come from?
OUC’s water comes from the Lower Floridan Aquifer, an underground reservoir that, in many places, is a quarter-mile below parts of the Earth’s surface. The aquifer is fed by rainwater that goes through a natural filtration process as it seeps through hundreds of feet of sand and rock. OUC pumps waters from the aquifer to facilities where it’s treated to meet standards that ensure the water is safe to drink.
How often does OUC test the water supply?
OUC’s state-certified water quality lab conducts thousands of chemical and bacteriological water-quality tests for contaminants year-round.
What water treatment process does OUC use?
OUC uses ozone treatment at our seven water-service plants as part of a process to produce high-quality, great-tasting tap water we call H2 OUC. Ozone oxidizes hydrogen sulfide to improve taste, eliminate odor and reduce the amount of chlorine that’s added to water. By law, we are required to add chlorine to our water to maintain its high quality as it flows through pipes to customers’ taps. Fluoride also is added to promote healthy teeth, and we add sodium hydroxide to adjust the pH, preventing copper and lead from leaching into the drinking water from customers’ plumbing, the primary source of these elements.
If you should have any questions concerning this situation, please do not hesitate to contact Brad Jewell at 407-434-4213, firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to him at Orlando Utilities Commission, PO Box 3193, Orlando, Florida 32802.