Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Water Quality Drops

The quality of the drinking water in the Pittsburgh area has dropped.

The good news is that while there are rising levels of contaminants, the water is drinkable. The bad news – officials aren’t exactly sure what is causing the increase in trihalomethanes or THM’s over the past couple months.

In high quantities and over long periods of time, THM’s can cause damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority sampled The Allegheny River for bromides, which when combined with chlorine become a contaminant. Levels were unusually high.
Bromide is a naturally occurring substance in the soil. But it can come from other sources as well, says Ronald Schwartz of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

"There’s also industrial sources like coal fired power plants for example, we also find it in our mine drainage discharges, we also find it in the oil and gas wastewater, there’s a number of sources of bromide and we’re sort of finding where the higher sources may be in the region," he said.

The Allegheny County Health Department says the levels of THM’s don’t exceed health standards.

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