2020 Annual Water Quality Report - Town of Big Stone Gap PWSID # 1195100

Is my water safe?


We are pleased to present this year's Annual Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report) as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). This report is designed to provide details about where your water comes from, what it contains, and how it compares to standards set by regulatory agencies. This report is a snapshot of last year's water quality. We are committed to providing you with information because informed customers are our best allies.

 

Do I need to take special precautions?


Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Water Drinking Hotline (800-426-4791).

 

Where does my water come from?


The source of your drinking water is surface water from Big Cherry Reservoir located in Wise County.

 

Source Water Assessment and its Availability


The Virginia Department of Health and the Town of Big Stone Gap conducted a source water assessment of our system during 2020. The Big Cherry Reservoir was determined to be of high susceptibility to contamination using the criteria developed by the state in its approved Source Water Assessment Program. The assessment report consists of maps showing the source water assessment area, an inventory of known land use activities of concern, and documentation of any known contamination. The report is available by contacting Gary Hampton at 276-524-1053.

 

Why are there contaminants in my drinking water?


Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791). The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity:

         Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, that may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife;

         Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally occurring or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial, or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming;

         Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and residential uses;

         Organic Chemical Contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, and septic systems;

         Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

 

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water which must provide the same protection for public health.

 

How can I get involved?


If you have questions about this report, please call the Town of Big Stone Gap Water Treatment Plant at 276-524-1053 and ask for Gary Hampton.

The Big Stone Gap Town Council meets at 6:30 PM on the second Tuesday of each month at 505 East 5th St. South.

 

Description of Water Treatment Process


Treatment of the raw water consists of coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, stabilization, fluoridation, and chlorination.  These processes work together to remove the physical, chemical, and biological contaminants to make the water safe for drinking. The Town of Big Stone Gap welcomes tours at the water plant. Please call the water plant at 276-524-1053 to arrange a tour.

 

Other Information - Sodium

There is presently no established standard for sodium in drinking water. Water containing more than 270 ppm of sodium should not be used as drinking water by those persons whose physician has placed them on a moderately restricted sodium diet. Water containing more than 20 ppm should not be used as drinking water by those persons whose physician has placed them on a severely restricted sodium diet. For informational purposes, we wish to point out that the results of our most recent sampling (2020) indicate that your water has a sodium content of 8.56 ppm.

 

Additional Information for Lead


If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. The Town of Big Stone Gap is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.

 


Water Quality Data Table

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of contaminants in water provided by public water systems. In developing the standards, EPA assumes that the average adult drinks 2 liters of water each day throughout a 70-year life span. EPA generally sets MCLs at levels that will result in no adverse health effects for some contaminants or a one-in-ten-thousand to one-in-a-million chance of having the described health effect for other contaminants. The table below lists all of the drinking water contaminants that we detected during the calendar year of this report. Although many more contaminants were tested, only those substances listed below were found in your water. All sources of drinking water contain some naturally occurring contaminants. At low levels, these substances are generally not harmful in our drinking water. Removing all contaminants would be extremely expensive, and in most cases, would not provide increased protection of public health. A few naturally occurring minerals may actually improve the taste of drinking water and have nutritional value at low levels. Unless otherwise noted, the data presented in this table is from testing done in the calendar year of the report. Some constituents are analyzed multiple times each day at the water plant. For example, the water plant staff analyzed the filter effluent turbidity almost 16,000 times in 2019.  The EPA or the State only requires us to monitor for certain contaminants less than once per year because the concentrations of these contaminants do not vary significantly from year to year, or the system is not considered vulnerable to this type of contamination. As such, some of our data, though representative, may be more than one year old. In this table you will find terms and abbreviations that might not be familiar to you. To help you better understand these terms, we have provided the definitions below the table.

 

Contaminants

MCLG
or
MRDLG

MCL,
TT, or
MRDL

Detect In
Your Water

Range

Sample
Date

Violation

Typical Source

Low

High

Disinfectants & Disinfection By-Products

(There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants)

Chlorine (as Cl2) (ppm)

4

4

1.47

.38

1.91

2020

No

Water additive used to control microbes

Haloacetic Acids (HAA5) (ppb)

NA

60

30

13

35

2020

No

By-product of drinking water chlorination

TTHMs [Total Trihalomethanes] (ppb)

NA

80

34

22

44

2020

No

By-product of drinking water disinfection

Total Organic Carbon (Ratio must be ≥ 1.0)

NA

TT

1.4

NA

NA

2020

No

Naturally present in the environment

Inorganic Contaminants

Barium (ppm)

2

2

.018

NA

NA

2020

No

Discharge of drilling wastes; Discharge from metal refineries; Erosion of natural deposits

Fluoride (ppm)

4

4

.97

.77

.97

2020

No

Erosion of natural deposits; Water additive which promotes strong teeth; Discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories

Sodium (optional) (ppm)

NA

NA

8.56

NA

NA

2020

No

Erosion of natural deposits; Leaching; See more information about Sodium in the “Other Information” section elsewhere in this report.

Microbiological Contaminants

Turbidity (NTU)

NA

95% of Values

< 0.3

99.98% of Values

< 0.3

NA

NA

2020

No

Soil runoff

100% of the samples were below the TT value of 0.3; A TT violation occurs when less than 95% of samples measure below 0.3. The highest single measurement was 0.16. Any measurement in excess of 1.0 is a violation unless otherwise approved by the state.

Radioactive Contaminants

Radium (combined 226/228) (pCi/L)

0

5

1.5

NA

NA

2020

No

Erosion of natural deposits

 

Contaminants

MCLG

AL

Your
Water

Sample
Date

# Samples
Exceeding AL

Exceeds AL

Typical Source

Inorganic Contaminants

Copper - action level at consumer taps (ppm)

1.3

1.3

.039

2019

0

No

Corrosion of household plumbing systems; Erosion of natural deposits

Inorganic Contaminants

Lead - action level at consumer taps (ppb)

0

15

3

2019

0

No

Corrosion of household plumbing systems; Erosion of natural deposits


 

Unit Descriptions

Term

Definition

ppm

ppm: parts per million, or milligrams per liter (mg/L)

ppb

ppb: parts per billion, or micrograms per liter (g/L)

pCi/L

pCi/L: picocuries per liter (a measure of radioactivity)

NTU

NTU: Nephelometric Turbidity Units. Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of the water. We monitor it because it is a good indicator of the effectiveness of our filtration system.

NA

NA: not applicable

ND

ND: Not detected

NR

NR: Monitoring not required, but recommended.

 

Important Drinking Water Definitions

Term

Definition

MCLG

MCLG: Maximum Contaminant Level Goal: The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.

MCL

MCL: Maximum Contaminant Level: The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.

TT

TT: Treatment Technique: A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

AL

AL: Action Level: The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.

Variances and Exemptions

Variances and Exemptions: State or EPA permission not to meet an MCL or a treatment technique under certain conditions.

MRDLG

MRDLG: Maximum residual disinfection level goal. The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.

MRDL

MRDL: Maximum residual disinfectant level. The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

MNR

MNR: Monitored Not Regulated

MPL

MPL: State Assigned Maximum Permissible Level

 

For more information please contact:

Contact Name: Gary Hampton
Address: 505 EAST 5TH STREET SOUTH
BIG STONE GAP, VA 24219
Phone: 276-524-1053