TMUA chloramine discussion today, 2011/12/14, 2:30 pm

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The Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority (TMUA) is working hard to rebut concerns that Tulsa citizens have about the addition of ammonia, in the form of chloramines, to our drinking water, in advance of the final discussion on the issue at today's (December 14, 2011) 2:30 pm TMUA meeting at Tulsa City Hall. Here are the some of the latest statements from TMUA chairman Rick Hudson, as reported by KRMG:

He told KRMG, "We have to do this," or else "we'll be subject to very severe fines."

He notes that the EPA has approved the use of chloramines and calls it "safe and effective." (See link below)

He also says studies by the city and an extensive study by the City of San Francisco "debunk" several objections that have been raised regarding health and environmental considerations.

The San Francisco chloramine "study", it appears, is not research specifically about the impact of chloramines on humans or the environment, but a bibliography of articles that may have some bearing on the topic. I found only two papers on the list that appeared to involve tests on human subjects, and it was limited to a particular kind of impact, as you'll see:

Wones RG, Deck CC, Stadler B, Roark S, Hogg E, Frohman LA. Effects of drinking water monochloramine on lipid and thyroid metabolism in healthy men. Environ Health Perspect. 1993 Mar;99:369-74.

Wones RG, Deck CC, Stadler B, Roark S, Hogg E, Frohman LA. Lack of effect of drinking water chlorine on lipid and thyroid metabolism in healthy humans. Environ Health Perspect. 1993 Mar;99:375-81.

The EPA penalties to which Hudson refers have to do with a relatively new EPA regulation governing disinfection byproducts (DBP), the Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule, which was finalized in late 2005 and is tied to the passage of the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The aim of the rule is to reduce certain byproducts of chlorinated water -- trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids -- which may be linked to an elevated risk of bladder cancer and possible developmental and reproductive risks. The rule is expected to reduce the number of bladder cancer cases by 280 per year (of which 26% would be fatal), at a projected nationwide cost of $79 million for implementation. Opponents of the use of chloramines say that other disinfection methods, such as activated charcoal filters, would be safer and just as cost effective.

Tulsa has a Schedule I system (serving more than 100,000 people), and it must begin compliance monitoring of the Stage 2 DBP Rule by April 1, 2012.

Jeannine Kinney sent along an email from water system consultant Bob Bowcock, who will be speaking about chloramine risks and alternatives at the TMUA meeting this afternoon. Bowcock addresses the San Francisco study and his passionate concern about the use of chloramines. Bowcock says that we have information about chloramine DBPs today that was not available when he oversaw the chloramination of the Los Angeles water supply in the mid-1980s.

You are correct... [the San Francisco study] is not a study it is CYA. I will be bringing factual information about real studies; chloramine DBP are significantly more toxic than Chlorine DBPs.

That is a simple fact... accepted by USEPA, CDC and AWWA. They have the information... the big question everyone is struggling with is... now that they have the information what will they do with it? Drinking water regulations evolve... the regulation of DBPs has been an ongoing process since 1979. If Tulsa... armed with this new information chooses to add ammonia knowingly to their drinking water they do it with knowledge we didn't have last year, three, five ten or twenty years ago... they do it with the full and complete factual knowledge that they will be harming people and causing property damage. If they can do that and sleep at night... God Bless them.

Remember, I personally turned on the ammonia feed pump in Los Angeles, the largest chloraminated system in the United States in 1984. I did not know what I was doing then would cause the harm I know it does now. I will fight, not just today, but everyday to right the wrong I know I contributed to.

They know that what they are about to do is wrong; they can however make a choice to do what is right. A choice to add ammonia to the drinking water in Tulsa in 2011 is a sin beyond reproach.

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1 Comments

citeewurkor said:

As an employee in water distribution, I can tell you that I have concerns with this switch to chloramine.

Despite what your leaders tell you, Tulsa's water distribution infrastructure has vast amounts of lead in its system. Everything from leaded joints, to lead service lines, to lead mains. I've personally uncovered lead services innumerable times over the past 15 years. We discover lead services routinely and replace them as we find them. For anybody to tell you there is no lead in Tulsa's water system is disingenuous.

It's been discussed that chloramine can corrode these lead fittings and cause lead to leach into the water supply. And we all know what lead poisoning does.

Chloramine also corrodes rubber fittings that are not hardened against chloramine. If these fittings fail, the cost of repair for water distribution maintenance goes up. If your toilet fittings are not hardened against chloramine, you should expect to replace these, as well.

The city should back off this chloramine system and take a long hard look at the long-term health and infrastructure effects.

Just my two cents.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 14, 2011 12:54 AM.

Chloramine presentation on TMUA agenda tomorrow was the previous entry in this blog.

At Christmas, remember the persecuted church is the next entry in this blog.

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