The city has announced that it is planning an investigation program for groundwater testing this year as a precaution in the wake of man-made contaminants found more than a month ago.
An outside firm will be hired as part of the $350,000 plan, which will focus on Columbus’ southern aquifer and include development of a model to predict the movement of contaminants and help determine best placement of new wells in the future.
The plan is welcome news because of multiple problems that arose in 2017.
In November, Columbus City Utilities had to shut down two wells south of the city’s wastewater treatment plant after tests indicated the presence of 1,4-dioxane. The chemical is used in industrial and commercial applications, often as a solvent, and commonly shows up as an impurity in household and personal care products, city officials said in a report.
That discovery was on top of a third city well that was shut down earlier in June at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds after a positive test for E. coli, a fecal bacteria. The city and Southwestern Bartholomew Water Cop. both issued boil orders for their customers as a safety measure, but it was later determined that a false positive had triggered the scare.
All three wells remain offline.
Local officials have said that Columbus city water is safe to drink and meets all state standards required for drinking water. However, when it comes to something so essential as water, residents want extra reassurance that their water is safe to drink.
Having to boil water if human or animal waste gets into a water system and isn’t purified is one thing for customers to deal with. But the prospect of chemicals used for industrial and commercial purposes contaminating a drinking water supply ratchets concerns even higher.
Residents want safe, clean water to drink, and not have to worry about possible health risks. That makes the city’s investigation program an important and welcome step.
We look forward to hearing the results of the study — whatever they may be — when it is completed. Residents deserve that transparency.