HI water quality report shows no violations

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- There are no violations of limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency for contaminants in the 2013 Holiday Island drinking water quality report. But radium levels are up significantly over last year.

The report, released recently by the Arkansas Department of Health, covers the period of Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2013. and lists levels for microbiological, radioactive, synthetic organic, lead and copper, disinfectants and byproducts of disinfection contaminants.

The report shows one positive sample of total coliform bacteria in August of last year. The EPA's allowable level is one positive sample per month.

Radioactive contaminants were much higher than in 2012, the report showed, especially for Well #2, which has consistently shown high radium levels over the years. However, Well #2 is not in service and was only brought back online, blended with Well #4, for a couple months in the spring of last year, while Well #5 was being repaired.

The state allows 15 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of alpha emitters, and for Well #2, the average was 9.5 last year, as opposed to 5.8 in 2012, although it was lower than in 2011, when it averaged 10.45. Wells #4 and 5 had higher alpha emitters last year than in both 2012 and 2011. Well #4 had an average of 5.85 pCi/L, compared to 4.43 in 2012 and 4.5 in 2011. Well #5 had an average of 6.73, compared to 5.3 in 2012 and 6.58 in 2011.

Combined radium, which the state has set at a limit of 5 pCi/L, was 4.23 for Well #2, as opposed to .95 in 2012, but slightly lower than in 2011, when it was 4.25.

Combined radium for both Wells #4 and 5 remained about the same for all three years, at around 1.3 pCi/L.

No one knows exactly what causes such divergent radioactive readings, which can vary depending the time of year. Readings are taken quarterly.

Lance Jones, Chief Engineer of the Arkansas Department of Health Engineering Section, said last year, "A high level of radium in a particular well in one quarter does not mean a high level in another quarter, and a high level in one well does not mean a high level in another well during the same quarter."

In addition to radiological testing, wells are tested for synthetic organic contaminants, lead and copper and regulated disinfectants.

In 2013, there were no violations at Holiday Island's wells for synthetic organics, although Well #4 showed a highest level of 2.48 ppb (parts per billion) of Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate. The allowed level is 6 ppb.

There was also no lead or copper contamination.

Disinfectants, such as chlorine, tested below the allowable level of 4 ppm (parts per million), with an average of .50 ppm. Disinfection by-products, haloacetic acids and trihalomethanes, had no detectable levels.

The Health Department also tests for 61 regulated and unregulated herbicide and pesticide components and other chemicals for two or more consecutive quarters every three years. In 2013, ADH tested Well #2 in April last year and Well #4 in April, July and October and in February 2014.

There were no violations on anything tested. The highest reading of an herbicide was 9 ppb on a product called Endothall, which the Environmental Protection Agency has set at a maximum level of 100 ppb.

The other highest reading is 2.5 ppb for glyphosate, the weed-killing chemical used in Roundup and other products. Last year the EPA raised the allowable limits of glyphosate in drinking water to 700 ppb, a move which outraged many environmentalists and concerned healthcare professionals.

The effects of glyphosate on health, particularly the digestive system, and possibly its role in multiple chronic conditions, even at concentrations as small as 1 ppb, continue to be controversial.

In May, representatives of several organizations, including Moms Across America and the Organic Consumers Association, met with an EPA panel to review, discuss and present scientific evidence to support concerns about glyphosate's health effects. In June, the EPA issued a letter to MAA, calling into question the methods used to sample and test for glyphosate toxicity in the evidence presented and the interpretation of data on the increased use of glyphosate over many years as showing a direct correlation to rising rates of disease.

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  • sadly testing of the water at various end use locations at H.I., is not being done. I dare say the reading at a home location and not the well would give a more accurate evaluation of our water. With leaks at 80% of our water system, I am shocked no agency has visited our community and given an ultimatum of fix or shut down. A penitence of the assessments is being used to repair this aging water system, while money is spent lavishly for golf facilities toys.

    Since the state from one source says it will not intervene in the apparent criminal neglect of the infrastructure there are ways to force the issue and hold those making the decisions accountable, if not at the state level then the federal level. We had an increase of almost double in assessments to fund our infrastructure, yet it stills is as it was when the increases took affect. Now we hear from Linda Graves, that another increase of assessments and a raise in the water bills is needed...again!

    $54,000 on golfing toys would have helped in some of the repairs of streets and or water system. As long as the major population of H.I., sits on their dead a_ _,and never runs for office of the BOC, the same self centered, selfish golf protectionist will continue to waste money on their sand box. I realize from rumors that it is next to impossible to be elected for the BOC unless you have the sanction of the golfing elite. Why has there been no backlash at the wasting of our assessments. People just don't care!!!

    If you care about our neglected water system, write your congressman or senator, even the EPA and request an investigation as to why they are not being fixed, leaking excessively while draining the Aquifers. The citizens must step up and demand the frivolous spending by the golfing establishment be ended.

    -- Posted by Concerned Person on Thu, Sep 11, 2014, at 9:37 AM
  • Lets look at the water loss another way, since it seems to many, not a problem! If you use money instead of water, and your investments instead of the aquifers, here is what it would look like. Of 100% of you income and investments you would use 20% annually for expenses and pleasures, while 80% was lost and unaccounted for, what would you do? Most people would hemorrhage if they lost 80% of their money annually, so why do we let our precious water be lost at 80% annually?

    At what point in time do the aquifers have so little water, we can no longer pump water for our community? And remember the golf courses are watered with this same water, at no expense to the facilities, so it is rumored.

    -- Posted by Concerned Person on Thu, Sep 11, 2014, at 9:54 AM
  • until we can make everyone at H.I. understand the severity of the water system leaks, nothing will be done. There needs to be accountability, and no one is going to force this board to allocate the necessary funds to fix the water issue. Linda Graves has stated raising the assessments and water fees would be required to fix the problem. Odd! Isn't that why the assessments were almost doubled two years ago? And what have they done with that money?

    A friend had a sediment filter installed in his house not long ago, and it was dirty within days. How many people actually drink this water? Home? Restaurants?

    -- Posted by Concerned Person on Thu, Sep 18, 2014, at 9:22 AM
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