Toho Water Authority (Toho) is committed to providing a high quality and sustainable drinking water supply. Throughout our service area, our operators and technicians routinely perform analysis and collect water samples that are analyzed by Toho’s own state-certified water quality laboratory or by an independent commercial lab. Thousands of water-quality tests are conducted each year.
During recent sampling undertaken as part of our quarterly testing required by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), we discovered elevated levels of Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) in the Lake Ajay area.
These levels are not an immediate health risk. If they had been, you would have been notified immediately. The purpose of this notice is to keep customers informed about their water quality and the actions Toho is taking to meet state standards.
What are Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)?
TTHMs are a type of disinfection byproduct that is formed when naturally occurring organic material in source water reacts with the chlorine that is used as a disinfectant. This occurs in many public water supplies, including ours.
Why is chlorine in the water?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a federal agency, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) a state agency, require the use of a disinfectant to minimize the possibility of bacterial contamination in the drinking water distribution system. Most utilities in the United States use either chlorine or chloramine as their disinfectant.
What is the standard for Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)?
EPA and the FDEP set the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of TTHMs that potable water systems are required to meet. The MCL for TTHMs is 80 parts per billion (ppb) based upon the average of 4 quarterly samples, called a running annual average (RAA). During the 4th week of October, one of the sampling locations had a Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) result that was 96.2 ug/L. This resulted in a RAA of 93 ug/L.
What caused the elevated levels?
Concentrations of TTHMs vary due to the water source. The amount of chlorine used, temperature and the length of time water spends traveling in the distribution system before it is used also affect the amount of TTHMs that form in the Toho water system. All of these factors may have contributed to the elevated levels of TTHMs.
What is Toho doing to reduce the level of TTHMs?
Toho and the City of St. Cloud are working together to improve water quality in the community. Since this issue was identified, Toho has taken the following steps:
- Toho installed additional automatic flushing devices, known as Hydroguards. These devices help reduce the amount of time that water stays in the pipes.
- Toho and the City of St. Cloud are working cooperatively to make operational adjustments at the St. Cloud treatment plants that supply water to the community to reduce the formation of TTHMs.
- Toho is increasing the water chemistry analysis and will be closely tracking the results to help make additional adjustments.
What else is being done to improve water quality?
To permanently improve service levels for Lake Ajay, two projects are underway:
- A new water main on Narcoossee Road will connect this area with the rest of Toho’s water system. Completion is slated for summer 2020.
- A new water plant will supply water directly to Toho customers located in Lake Ajay, as well as the new Sunbridge development. Completion of this plant is projected for the end of 2020.
Can I continue to use my water?
Yes. You do not need to boil your water or take other corrective actions.
Although water with elevated TTHMs does not present an immediate health risk, we also recognize the importance of water and take our commitment to quality very seriously.
For any of our customers that do not already have a whole house or point of use filter, Toho will provide a faucet filter that removes TTHMs. While not a regulatory requirement, Toho is offering these filters to our customers. If you desire a faucet filter, please use our Filter Request Form to make your request.
What are the next steps?
Toho and the City of St. Cloud will continue to work together to implement short and long term solutions that provide the service level that our customers expect and deserve. Toho will continue to update this FAQ document as additional information or details are identified.