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UPDATE: Cuyahoga Falls officials say voluntary test finds no Chromium or Chromium-6 in city water

From a Staff Report Published: September 26, 2016 1:42 PM

Cuyahoga Falls city officials on Friday (Sept. 23) said a voluntary test of water samples from both the city's water distribution system and water treatment plant did not detect any Chromium and Chromium Hexavalent (Chromium 6) in either location.

"Although not requested nor required by the EPA, the city of Cuyahoga Falls voluntarily submitted water samples to Summit Environmental Technologies on Sept. 21, 2016 to test for total Chromium (Cr) and Chromium Hexavalent (Chromium 6)," according to a news release issued by Mayor Don Walters' office Friday afternoon. "The samples were taken at the water treatment plant and also in the water distribution system. The test results obtained on Sept. 23 were as follows: 0 parts per billion, 0 ppb, 0 ppb, 0 ppb."

This voluntary test came two days after officials said that the city's drinking water is "safely within EPA guidelines" in response to a story that reported on the findings of an environmental health research and advocacy organization. The findings in the Environmental Working Group's report analyzing drinking water tests were listed in a story that appeared in the Plain Dealer on Sept. 21. Among the findings was that EPA testing of Cuyahoga Falls' Water Treatment Plant detected 1.4 parts per billion of Chromium-6. The samples for that test were taken on June 11, 2015.

The EWG report noted "in 2010, scientists at the respected and influential California Office of Health Hazard Assessment concluded that ingestion of tiny amounts of Chromium-6 can cause cancer in people, a conclusion affirmed by state scientists in New Jersey and North Carolina."

The EWG report also emphasized that California is the only state that adopted a legal limit on how much Chromium-6 can be in drinking water.

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"The California scientists set a so-called public health goal of 0.02 parts per billion in tap water, the level that would pose negligible risk over a lifetime of consumption. (A part per billion is about a drop of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool.)," the EWG report stated. "But in 2014, after aggressive lobbying by industry and water utilities, the state regulators adopted a legal limit 500 times the public health goal. It is the only enforceable drinking water standard at either the state or federal level."

The legal limit adopted was 10 parts per billion, according to the report.

Walters said city officials issued more information on Sept. 21 because "there were questions" about the 1.4 parts per billion of Chromium-6 detected in the city's water treatment plant in 2015.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency on various occasions asks for random specimens of water from the Cuyahoga Falls Water Department, according to a city news release that came out Sept. 21. The U.S. EPA asked for random samplings from the city of Cuyahoga Falls on Dec. 8, 2014, and then again on June 11, 2015.

In the test conducted on Dec. 8, 2014, the U.S. EPA found that no Chromium-6 was detected at either the Water Treatment Plant or the Water Distribution System. In the test conducted on June 11, 2015, 1.4 parts per billion of Chromium-6 was detected at the Water Treatment Plant and no Chromium-6 was detected in the Water Distribution System, according to city officials. Walters told the Falls News-Press that meant that "zero parts per billion [of Chromium-6] was delivered to our customers."


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