Limestone Co. water safe to drink despite chemical levels

Water officials have been in the process of notifying customers about high levels of HAA5. (Source: WAFF file)
Water officials have been in the process of notifying customers about high levels of HAA5. (Source: WAFF file)

LIMESTONE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - A recent test by the Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority found higher than standard levels of Haloacetic Acids, or HAA5, in the drinking water. However, officials said the water was still safe to drink.

Limestone County Water officials confirmed the test results came back in July. The standard for HAA5 is .060 MG/L, but two locations showed levels higher than that. 28850 Dorning Road had a HAA5 level of .064 MG/L and 18310 Highway 251 had a HAA5 level of .066 MG/L. HAA5 is a disinfectant byproduct.

The Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority sent out letters to Limestone County residents alerting them to the tests. [Read a PDF copy] Officials said the letter was required by Alabama Department of Environmental Management because of the tests findings.

In it, Limestone County Water officials warned residents that years of drinking water with higher levels of the contaminant may increase the risk of getting cancer and cause problems with a person's liver, kidneys, or central nervous system.

Residents said that despite the many assurances from the water authority, they still don't feel at ease about the situation. Several we spoke to said they were going to stop using water from the tap and instead go buy bottled water.

Limestone County Schools sent out an all-call phone alert on Wednesday with a notice to the parents of the 320 students that attend Johnson Elementary.

District leaders decided to provide the school with bottled water and water dispensers so students would not have to drink water out of the drinking fountain. Leaders from Limestone County Schools and the Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority said several concerned parents contacted them after receiving the message.

Limestone County Schools superintendent said the water dispensers would remain on the Johnson Elementary campus until county officials told the district HAA5 levels returned to acceptable standards.

"The Limestone County Water Authority is going to address it quickly, but we want to give people peace of mind," said Superintendent Dr. Tom Sisk. "We sent out an alert now because we want to be transparent. We made the water available so they can still drink water without being fearful of anything."

Dr. Sisk said they keep a supply of bottled water through the district's child nutrition program, and that is how they were able to immediately respond.

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