HISID commissioners receive report on water quality

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- Water quality was the main topic of discussion at the Holiday Island Suburban Improvement District (HISID) Board of Commissioners meeting Aug. 28.

Mike Mathis of Mathis, Carter & Associates, in response to a property owner's request for a presentation of the district's water quality reports, explained what the reports mean.

He referred to the "2005 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report for Holiday Island." It shows that for the three wells from which the community takes its potable water, there are no violations in any of the samples tested.

Radium has been a concern in Holiday Island water in the past, which prompted the district to take Well #2 out of service and use only Wells #1, 4 and 5.

The state mandates that radium must not exceed 5 pCi/L (Picocuries per liter). At the time tested, Well #1 had 1.0; Well #4 had 1.6; and Well #5 had 1.5, although at times Well #1's range has registered at between 2.9 and 5.4.

Nitrates were detected at a level of .10 of a mandated maximum of 10.0. Lead and copper were detected at .003 out of .015 and .2 out of 1.3 respectively.

Volatile organic contaminants, two compounds that are by-products of drinking water disinfection, were detected at 1.4 and 3.6 out of a maximum of 60.0 and 80.0.

Of the 21 regulated and 38 unregulated organic compounds tested in the State of Arkansas, a report on Well #1 showed none above .5 ppm (part per million).

Mathis answered concerns about Methyl tert-Butyl Ether (Mtbe), an octane enhancer for unleaded gasoline that is unregulated in the state.

"But the EPA monitors it, and the entire nation has been testing for it since January 2001," he said.

He said the "Consumer Confidence Report" of 2003-04 for Holiday Island showed less than 1 ppm.

He said another community in southern Carroll County, which also pumps from deep wells based in the Roubidoux Aquifer, had high counts of Mtbe.

"But the Health Department suspected the sample was contaminated during collection," he said. "They retested, and it was clear. Sampling is tricky, and it's not something you want to bank your books on when one sample is contaminated and another is clear." He said Holiday Island's sample came back clear in 2005.

Regarding e coli bacteria, Mathis said Holiday Island's 2003 sample detecting it was due to a "lab accident" the Health Department "wouldn't admit" to. In subsequent testing of 16 samples, they came back clear.

He said he runs three other water departments and noted, "It's odd that when one has a problem, they all do," implying lab testing procedures are not always competent or accurate, and that subsequent retests often show no problem.

In response to a question about golf course chemicals filtering through the karst geology to the aquifer, Mathis said the aquifer is "contained," and contaminants in groundwater do not enter the aquifer. He noted that when a water system like Holiday Island receives approval to drill a potable well, such as the new golf course well drilled to potable water standards, metal casing must be installed 500 feet down to prevent groundwater contamination of the aquifer.

Holiday Island is on a "reduced monitoring scheduled" that requires testing only every three years. The next tests will be performed in 2007, with the report released in 2008.

In other business, the Board:

* Approved on second and final reading Amendment #9 of Regulation 26-2002 on establishing Golf Leagues, effective Sept. 1.

* Approved awarding the road paving bid to Hutchens Construction for $111,506.82. District Manager Kevin Crosson noted Carroll County Judge Ulys K. Smith agreed to increase the country's contribution from 50 cents per linear foot to 55 cents on single chip-and-seal paving. Its share will be $8,312.15, and the district's will be $34,382.67, bringing the district in under budget of $40,000 for that portion of the work.

* Heard Crosson present the financials for July. Income, year-to-date, was $1,997,000, operating expenses were $1,733,000 and capital expenses were $395,000, leaving a net loss of $131,000. Crosson said the October assessment billing will make up the shortfall.

The next Board meetings were announced as a work session on Sept. 18 at 9 a.m. and a business meeting on Sept. 25 at 6:30 p.m., both at the district office. The Sept. 25 meeting will also be a public forum on requests for the 2007 capital improvements program.

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