York Water Company: Safe this year
Posted by ycpmicro
I’m sure the rest of you who live in the region were as excited as me this past week to check the mail. Last Thursday I got my 2010 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report from the York Water Company, whose main water treatment facility is about 1 mile from the YCP campus. Since we are discussing this in lab right now, it’s an excellent coincidence that the report showed up when it did.
The report gives a nice overview of the water sanitization process, from the main input on the Codorus Creek downstream of Lake Redman to the initial pumping station of Indian Rock Dam Road. Initially, particulate matter and organic material is removed from the water by the addition of alum, which causes that material to precipitate and settle out in large basins. The water is then passed through a series of filters, and sodium hypochlorite (bleach), ammonia, and pH adjusters are added, before the water travels to the big reservoirs at the top of the hill overlooking campus.
Water that is to come out of the tap is tested extensively for a number of things: coliforms and fecal coliforms (potentially pathogenic bacteria,) nitrates (run-off from farming,) volatile organic chemicals (byproducts of the disinfectants), and heavy metals (ground contaminants from a variety of sources.) Fortunately all of the tested parameters were well within the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. The only item that was within a close to 2-fold level of the EPA’s action limits was dissolved nitrates, which is perhaps not surprising, given the very high levels of agriculture through the Codorus Creek watershed.
So rest assured, York County water drinkers! Everyone’s Microbiology homework is to drink at least 64 oz (1.9 liters) of tap water a day for good health and happy kidneys.
BOUNUS! Suggest a reason why we don’t immediately shut down the water supply upon detecting coliforms in water samples.