In late January, the City notified residents that a routine monthly drinking water sample collected on December 11, 2017 at its Fargo Water Treatment Plant (FWTP) was not in conformance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s standard average of 0.010 milligrams per liter for bromate concentration.
The sample concentration in December 2017 at the FWTP was 0.088 milligrams per liter. In a review of data from the water samples, there was a nine-day period, December 7-15, in which bromate concentrations may have been at levels to increase the standard average calculation above the EPA standard. During this time, Sheyenne River water was being used in the plant and a mechanical failure with monitoring equipment in the ozone process resulted in incorrectly low ozone readings.
The North Dakota Department of Health is required by the EPA to calculate and monitor the City’s running annual average (RAA) for some water quality components and, due to the elevated bromate concentrations in December, the City’s RAA is 0.011 milligrams per liter (a one-thousandth milligram over the RAA’s allowable level). As such, the City is again required to notify the public of this issue.
In addition to this public notice, website notices and social media updates, the City is directly mailing postcards to its drinking water consumers in Fargo, West Fargo and the Cass County Rural Water District. Postcards are being printed and will arrive in residents’ mailboxes this week.
It is important for the public to know that since mid-December, bromate levels at the FWTP have all been observed and tested to be well within the allowable levels. This issue is not cause for alarm.
Dr. John Baird, Health Officer for Fargo Cass Public Health, stated “A limit is set for the level of bromate in drinking water because of a concern that some people exposed to high levels over many years may have an increased risk of cancer. I see no health risk to our community from the short time that bromate levels were over the established limit.”