By  | April 21, 2014 | 0 Comments | Filed under: Cambridge's Dirty Drinking Water



 I’ve been back on-line searching for standards and guidelines regarding chlorine and or chloramines in drinking water.

There is a hard maximim number for chloramines in your tap water and it is 3.0 mg/litre or 3 parts per million (ppm). A synonym for chloramine concentrations is combined residual. Free chlorine residual refers to chlorine on its’ own ie. not combined with nitrogen producing a chloramine.

 A hard standard for free chlorine is more difficult to ascertain. I have read that it should also not exceed 3.0 mg/l although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have set a maximum standard of 4.0 mg/l.

Research has indicated that chlorinated water raises bad cholesterol levels in humans and has been implicated in increased risks of bladder cancer.

Chlorine exposure occurs not only by drinking tap water but also significantly via showering in chlorinated water. Swimming pools are also a concern and serious/competitive swimmers have higher health risks due to chlorine exposure even at below maximum permitted concentrations. One reference states that most municipalities maintain their free chlorine residuals between .2 and 2.0 mg/l and another suggests between .04 and 1.0 mg/l, both well below the EPA’s standard of 4 mg/l. It is with this information that I will now give further 2013 Annual (Drinking Water) Reports produced by the Region of Waterloo, for various wells and systems in Cambridge.

Well G4 (Galt) on the west side of the Grand River has Sodium levels of 92.1 mg/l well above the recommended although not mandated levels of 20 mg/l.

Turbidity (cloudiness) of the water is 1.92 NTU above the standard which varies between .1 and 1.0 NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Units).

Trihalomethane (THM) results which are the major concern in chlorinated drinking water are not published in these reports although they do state that the two tier distribution system is operated by the City of Cambridge; telling me that the City probably have that data but aren’t sharing it. The maximum chlorine (free) concentration was a ridiculous by any standards, 4.29 mg/l .

Heading north and east, well G5 has a ridiculous Sodium reading of 152 mg/l. Low sodium diets relate to high blood pressure and other heart problems.

THMs again are not published although with a maximum of 3.7 mg/l chlorine (free) they should be as they are produced by chlorine. Nitrates are also high although well below the drinking water standard of 10 mg/l. These too relate to heart and blood pressure issues.

Well G6 south of Ciba-Geigy has high Sodium levels of 51 mg/l, no THM readings and a low level of the industrial contaminant Metolochlor (.68 ppb) in the drinking water. At least metolachlor was low when it was measured back in 2011.

Why they aren’t testing it at a minimum of annually is beyond me. Free chlorine is at an astounding maximum of 4.99 mg/l. That this doesn’t even generate an Adverse Effect Report under Subsection 18(1) of the Safe Drinking Water Act or Schedule 16 of Ontario Reg. 170/03 is also beyond me.

Well G9 is at the south end of town near Allen-Bradley. Sodium levels are a very bad 123 mg/l plus they have a significant trichloroethylene (TCE) problem at 1.6 parts per billion (ppb).

The current Canadian standard is 5.0 ppb with some U.S. jurisdictions considerably lower.

The TCE results also are from 2011 and whether legally complying time wise or not (I’m doubtful), the lack of updated results is shameful. Chlorine (free) maximum concentration is 3.47 mg/l which while legal in the U.S. is still well above accepted practices and is dangerously high.

Well H3 in Hespeler has very high Sodium at 94.7 mg/l and above standard Turbidity at 1.99 NTU.

The maximum chlorine (free) residual is a more reasonable 1.99 mg/l. The bad news is that this well was shut down for 50 weeks last year raising the obvious question, namely why?

Well H4A is a new well connected into the H4 well supply. It has an unbelievable Sodium reading of 226 mg/l and an unacceptably high, although legal, free chlorine residual reading of 2.82 mg/l. Well H4 was off-line for the whole year. Again very disturbing but no explanation given.

Hespeler well H5 was off-line for 25 weeks last year also with no explanation given.

The maximum free chlorine residual was 4.86 mg/l and again no THM levels are published here.

THMs cause cancer which is why they are regulated and if free chlorine residuals don’t have a hard Canadian standard they should have. This water is dangerous to your health.

Well P9 is located just north of Ciba-Geigy (Novartis). Sodium is at 94.3 mg/l which is bad but again free chlorine is at a way too high maximum of 4.99 mg/l.

 The question is why. Total Coliform levels are low and E.Coli is zero. Turbidity is also good.

 Therefore why are they chlorinating the daylights out of this water? Are they incompetent or are they trying to hide (or treat?) other problems such as taste, odour or chemical?

Last but not least this well was off-line for 19 weeks last year. In times of water restrictions and low rainfall shut down wells signify serious trouble.

Finally Well P15 is located very close to Well P9. It was also shut down for 19 weeks last year without explanation. Sodium readings were 85.8 mg/l and free chlorine was at 3.95 mg/l. Turbidity and bacteria levels were low again raising the question about high free chlorine levels. Industrial and agricultural chemical testing was last reported in 2011.

Something is amiss in this and other Cambridge wells with all these shutdowns.

Cambridge both from vital data given as well as vital data absent, your well supply is badly compromised.

All these various drinking standards are based upon the wholly unreasonable assumption that there is at most only one health related contaminant at a time in the drinking water.

Absolutely nobody can positively state that these various combinations of issues including, sodium, nitrates, THMs, free chlorine, chloramines in other wells and low levels of solvents are not damaging people’s health.

Speaking of chloramines there lack of use in these wells in this posting is strange.

They are far more commonly used in the rest of Waterloo Region than chlorine alone. To put it bluntly the drinking water standards currently in use are the product of science, health requirements and most terrifying, industrial/business lobbying. The U.S. EPA have been upfront about this issue. Here in Canada we try not to alarm our citizens with disturbing truths.



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