PIQUA — In March 2017, the city of Piqua was required to submit a map to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in accordance to House Bill 512 passed in June, identifying areas of water distribution that have or are likely to contain lead service lines. This bill enacted section 6109.121 of the Ohio Revised Code, which created requirements to regulate lead and copper testing of public water systems and the revision of law governing lead contamination from plumbing and fixtures.
In compliance to mapping areas with lead service lines, the city worked with engineering consultant Hull & Associates. By interviewing city officials knowledgeable of the water distribution system, review of historic water main and service line design standards, review of “tap cards” and as-built drawings, and determined approximate dates of construction for developed areas, Hull was able to create the map.
Lead service lines are most likely present in the oldest part of the city, before the transition from the use of lead to copper for water service lines between 1940-1970.
Hull categorized the map with the following:
• Before 1940: High likelihood that service lines contain lead
• From 1940-1969: Moderate likelihood that services lines contain lead
• From 1970-present: Low likelihood that service lines contain lead
Current city standard materials used for water mains is ductile iron pipe lined with concrete, push-on joints, and rubber gaskets. It is the city’s policy to replace the publicly-owned components of the water service with new copper tubing and non-lead brass hardware when lead piping and/or fitting have been confirmed. However, the city is not responsible for replacing the privately owned portion of the water service line but recommends the owners consider replacements. Using precautions such as flushing the tap for approximately two minutes before using water for drinking or cooking can minimize the potential for lead exposure.
With new construction — such as the new Springcreek Primary, Piqua Central Intermediate, and Washington Primary schools — there is no likelihood of lead service lines or any lead plumbing.
To confirm that adequate corrosion protection of distribution piping occurs, the city is currently performing a corrosion control study to document the quality of the city’s drinking water. This study is done with a coupon rack system located at the Water Treatment Plant to read how the water leaves the plant and the Piqua Fire Department. The coupon study will continue, to ensure the drinking water quality is maintained or improved, during and after the construction of the new water treatment plant.
“Results from this study, to date, have shown the city’s water to be very non-corrosive, minimizing the risk of lead leaching into resident’s water,” Water System Superintendent Don Freisthler said.
In 2015, the Ohio EPA required the city to test for lead and copper as part of the triannual testing requirements. During this testing period, the city collected 30 samples from different sites, including homes with both lead and copper plumbing. All samples collected were well within compliance with Ohio EPA lead and copper standards.
“The city of Piqua’s lead sampling program consists of 30 locations throughout the city. The results from all required sampling completed in 2015 and years past have never had a violation, indicating that all locations were below the Ohio EPA action level for lead of 15 mg/l,” Freisthler said.
As of 2016, along with the tri-annual lead and copper testing, the city is required by the Ohio EPA to test for harmful algal blooms in the waterways. These samples have always been within the Ohio EPA standards. Since testing began, at no time was there detection of harmful algae in any of the three water sources: Piqua Hydraulic System, Gravel Pit, and the Great Miami River.
In the new water treatment plant, granular activated carbon filters will be incorporated into the filtering process. These filters will remove many organics, toxic algae, and atrazine, an agricultural herbicide used to prevent broadleaf weeds in crops, from the raw water greatly improving the treatment process. The Ohio EPA has deemed these filters as the best and most reliable treatment process for water.
To ensure that residents of Piqua have safe drinking water, the city of Piqua Water Treatment Plant follows strict Ohio EPA guidelines.
“The city of Piqua is committed to providing the safest and highest quality of water for the community. The new Water Treatment Plant will use the latest technologies to continue and advance that commitment,” City Manager Gary Huff said.
For more information regarding your drinking water, visit www.piquaoh.org, or contact Freisthler at (937) 778-2090 or [email protected]