Washington Aqueduct Failure to Comply with Turbidity Monitoring Requirements
Fairfax Water purchases water from the Washington Aqueduct to service portions of its system as reflected on the map below.
We are required to monitor your drinking water for specific contaminants on a regular basis. Results of regular monitoring are used as an indicator of whether or not our drinking water meets health standards. For 17 hours on June 24-25, 2020, Washington Aqueduct did not complete all monitoring for turbidity on 1 of its 48 filters, and therefore cannot be sure of the quality of your drinking water during that time. During those 17 hours, the overall turbidity of treated water from all filters remained within allowable limits. The turbidity of the impacted filter was within allowable limits before and after the incident.
To see if you are located with in the Washington Aqueduct service area, type your address in the search box at the top right of the map below.
Since the occurrence, Washington Aqueduct has improved their procedures to prevent a similar situation from recurring. Even though this was not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened and what Washington Aqueduct did to correct the situation.
What should I do?
There is nothing you need to do at this time. If a situation arises where the water is no longer safe to drink, you will be notified within 24 hours.
What is being done?
Upon discovery, Washington Aqueduct immediately conducted an investigation to determine the source of this incident and how to prevent reoccurrence. As a result of this investigation, Washington Aqueduct has improved documentation and training for procedures related to this incident.
What is turbidity?
Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of water. It is used to indicate water quality and filtration effectiveness. Water utilities are required to monitor turbidity at different points in the treatment process. In this case, turbidity was not monitored for 17 hours on June 24-25 at one of Washington Aqueduct’s 48 filters. During those 17 hours, the overall turbidity of treated water from all filters remained within allowable limits. The turbidity of the impacted filter was within allowable limits before and after the incident.
What are the regulatory requirements for this type of incident?
This incident was designated as a Tier 3 Public Notification under the EPA’s Public Notification Rule, which is part of the Safe Drinking Water Act. A Tier 3 designation means that the violation does not have a direct impact on human health. The regulation states that the water supplier has up to a year to provide a notice of this situation to its customers. In addition to this notice on our website, Fairfax Water will include a notice in the 2021 Annual Water Quality Report which will be released next year.
For more information, please contact Fairfax Water’s customer service department via the following methods:
8570 Executive Park Ave.
Fairfax, VA 22031
Date posted online: August 31, 2020.