Water utility gets clean bill of health

Columbus City Utilities has received a clean bill of health after tests of its water supply revealed no major issues.

The utility’s 2017 water quality report indicates that it met all water quality standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the American Water Works Association.

The report, covering the 2016 calendar year, noted there were no violations of the standards and that all monitoring requirements set by IDEM were met or exceeded.

The testing schedule for different compounds such as coliform varies annually, said Keith Reeves, director of Columbus City Utilities.

However, Reeves said the utility exceeds federal mandates for water testing in an attempt to ensure public confidence in its water supply. Columbus City Utilities provides water to 15,000 customers, including residential homes and businesses.

“We wanted to be proactive and demonstrate that Columbus exceeds those requirements and that there’s nothing to be worried about,” he said.

The report indicates Columbus has “very good quality water and we’re pretty proud of it,” Reeves said.

Columbus City Utilities performed tests at all of the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. buildings in Columbus last year that also resulted in no issues, Reeves said.

Columbus City Utilities has sent out invitations to customers as it plans to begin a study that will involve testing water for lead and copper in areas of the city where the oldest homes are located. The lead and copper study is done every three years, Reeves said.

He said lead in water is an issue on the public’s mind in light of serious problems discovered in Flint, Michigan.

Residents in that Michigan community have endured tap water contaminated with lead and other toxins from Flint River water that were not properly treated starting in 2014, The Associated Press reported. Another source of the contamination in Flint has been old lead pipes that leached the toxin into homes and businesses.

The Columbus water-testing study will be bounded by Hawcreek, the East Fork White River and National Road, Reeves said. Letters will be sent out to homeowners that will require a minimum of 30 homes to be tested within a designated area.

Residents will be asked to obtain samples, which will then by collected by Columbus City Utilities and sent off to an off-site laboratory for analysis, Reeves said.

The city’s water has never tested positive for lead, Reeves said, adding that the study should be wrapped up by August.

On the Web

To view Columbus City Utilities’ 2017 water quality report, visit columbusutilities.org.

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com