2011 Water Quality Report

Water Quality Report

Berea Municipal Utilities
PWS ID: KY0760030


Berea Municipal Utilities is pleased to provide you with a copy of our annual Water Quality Report. This report provides information about the quality of water offered for use by Berea Municipal Utilities during calendar year 2011.


What is the source of our water?

Berea Municipal Utilities treats surface water from four reservoirs, Upper Silver Creek, Lower Silver Creek, Cowbell and Owsley Fork Lakes. The final source water assessment for our system has been completed and is contained in the Madison County Source Water Assessment & Protection Plan.  An analysis of the susceptibility of the Berea water supply to contamination indicates that susceptibility is generally moderate.  However, there are some areas of high concern within the protection zones of the Upper and Lower Silver Creek reservoirs, as well as with the protection zone of Cowbell Lake.  Forested areas within these protection zones hold the potential to generate runoff that could carry natural contaminants from the forest floor.  Within the protection zone for Owsley Fork reservoir, forest areas are also present and are noted as a significant contamination threat to this source.  Segments of four major roads (KY 2004, KY 3447, US 421, and KY 21) also occur within this protection zone–each perceived as medium-level threats to the reservoir supply.  A copy of the plan is available for review at the Berea Municipal Utilities office, during normal business hours.


What type of contaminants can be found in an untreated water supply?

The sources of drinking water, both tap water and bottled water, include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and may pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.

Contaminants that may be present in source water include:

1. Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria that may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.
2. Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals that may be naturally-occurring or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.
3. Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agricultural, urban stormwater runoff, and residential uses.
4. Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are byproducts of industrial processes and petroleum production, and may also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, and septic systems.
5. Radioactive contaminants, which may be naturally-occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

To ensure that tap water is safe to drink, U.S. EPA prescribes regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminates in water provided by public water systems.

U.S. FDA regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water that shall provide the same protection for public health.


How is our water treated?

The water treatment plant is designed to remove or reduce the concentration of any contaminants to a safe level. The Berea Municipal Water Treatment Plant consistently produces water that meets or exceeds applicable drinking water regulations. We use a conventional treatment process, which includes flocculation, dissolved air flotation, filtration, and disinfection. The water entering the treatment plant contains small particles that are suspended in the water, which are too light to settle out. To remove these particles, we mix chemicals with the water to form larger particles called floc. As the floc is gently mixed with the water, it collects the smaller particles and the floc grows in size. During this initial phase of the treatment process, chlorine is added to the raw water to oxidize certain compounds found naturally in the water and to disinfect the water. After flocculation has occurred, the water is routed through the dissolved air filtration unit, which removes the larger particles of floc. The water is then filtered through a multi-media filter to remove the remaining smaller floc particles. Then additional chemicals are added to the water to prevent corrosion in the distribution system and consumers’ plumbing. As the treatment process nears completion, additional chlorine is added to protect the water from contamination prior to consumer use. Fluoride is also added to the water for dental health.


Water Quality Data

Key to Abbreviations and Definitions

AL = Action level: The concentration of a contaminant, which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.
TT = Treatment Technique: A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.
MCL = Maximum Contaminant Level: The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible, using the best available treatment technology.
MCLG = Maximum Contaminant Level Goal: The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.
MFL = Million fibers per liter: the presence of asbestos fibers that are longer than 10 micrometers.
ppm = parts per million, or milligrams per liter: equivalent to1 minute in 2 years or a single penny in $10,000.
ppb = parts per billion, or micrograms per liter: equivalent to1 minute in 2,000 years or single penny in $10,000,000.
ppt = parts per trillion, or nanograms per liter: equivalent to 1 minute in 2,000,000 years or single penny in $10,000,000,000.
ppq = parts per quadrillion, or picograms per liter: equivalent to 1 minute in 2,000,000,000 years or single penny in $10,000,000,000,000.
pCi/l = picocuries per liter : a measure of the radioactivity in water.
MDL = minimum detection limit: the smallest quantity for which a contaminant can be detected.
NTU = nephelometric turbidity unit: a measure of the clarity of water.
N/A = not applicable
MFL = Million Fibers per Liter: a measure of the presence of asbestos fibers that are longer than 10 micrometers.
= Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level: the highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminates.
MRDLG = Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal: the level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.
PH = measurement of both acidity and alkalinity on a scale of 0 to14 with 7 representing neutrality, numbers less than 7 increasing acidity, and numbers greater than 7 increasing alkalinity.
BDL = laboratory analysis indicates that the contaminant is not present.
mrem/yr = measure of radiation absorbed by the body.
V&E = Variance or exception - State or EPA permission not to meet an MCL or a treatment technique under certain conditions.

The data presented in this report are from the most recent testing done in accordance with the administrative regulations in 401 KAR Chapter 8. As authorized and approved by the EPA, the State has reduced monitoring requirements for certain contaminants to less often than once per year because the concentration of these contaminants are not expected to vary significantly from year to year. Some of the data in this table, though representative, may be more than one year old. Unless otherwise noted, the report level is the highest level detected.



Violation Likely Source
*Representative samples of filtered water
No more than 1 NTU*Less than 0.3 NTU in 95% of monthly samples 0.28 100 No Soil
Regulated Contaminant Test Results
Contaminant [code] (units) MCL MCLG Report 


Range of Detection Date ofSample Violation Likely Source ofContamination
Radioactive Contaminants
Alpha emitters[4000] (pCi/L) 15 0 0.70 0.7
to 0.7
Jul-08 No Erosion of natural deposits
Combined Radium(pCi/L) 5 0 0.50 0.5
to 0.5
Jul-08 No Erosion of natural deposits
Inorganic Contaminants
Barium [1010] (ppm) 2 2 0.01 0.013
to 0.013
Mar-11 No Drilling wastes; metal refineries;erosion of natural deposits
[1022] (ppm)
sites exceeding action level 


1.3 0.156 

(90th percentile)

to 0.307
Jul-09 No Corrosion of household plumbing systems
Fluoride [1025] ppm 4 4 1.03917 0.88
to 1.2
Jun Jul-05 No Water additive which promotesstrong teeth
[1030] (ppb)
sites exceeding action level 




0 1 

(90th percentile)

to 3
Jul-09 No Corrosion of household plumbing systems

[1040] (ppm)

10 10 0.2 0.2
May-11 No Runoff from fertilizer use; leaching from septic tanks, sewage; erosion of natural deposits
Disinfectants/Disinfection Byproducts and Precursors
Organic Carbon (ppm)
(measured as ppm, but reported as ratio)
TT* N/A 1.41 

(lowest average)

to 1.84
(monthly ratios)
N/A No Naturally present in environment
* Monthly ratio is the % TOC removal required. Annual average of the monthly ratios must be 1.00 or greater for compliance.
Chlorine (ppm) MRDL
= 4
= 4

(highest average)

to 1.7
N/A No Water additive used to control microbes
(ppb) (all sites)
[Haloacetic acids]
60 N/A 47 

(system average)

to 56
 (range of system sites)
N/A No Byproduct of drinking water disinfection
[Haloacetic acids] 

(Individual Sites)

60 N/A 40 

(locational average)

to 50
N/A No Byproduct of drinking water disinfection
(ppb) (all sites)
[total trihalomethanes]
80 N/A 50 

(system average)

to 65
N/A No Byproduct of drinking water disinfection
[total trihalomethanes] 

(Individual Sites)

80 N/A 56 

(locational average)

to 56
N/A No Byproduct of drinking water disinfection

Turbidity: Turbidity has no health effects. However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Turbidity may indicate the presence of disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches. Turbidity is a measure of treatment performance and is regulated as a treatment technique. Turbidity is measured in nephelometric turbidity units (NTU), and is a measure of the clarity of water. Turbidity in excess of 5 NTU is noticeable by the average person. The combined filter effluent turbidity must be less than or equal to 0.3 NTU in at least 95 per cent of the measurements taken each month. The highest turbidity measurement during the year was 0.49 NTU in February. We did meet the requirement of 0.3 NTU in at least 95 per cent of the samples taken in February.

We are required to test the water in the distribution system for Microbiological Contaminants, i.e. Total Coliform Bacteria. We test 12 samples, taken throughout the distribution system, each month. All test results for the year were negative.

MCL’s are set at very stringent levels. To understand the possible health effects described for many regulated constituents, a person would have to drink 2 liters of water every day for a lifetime at the MCL level to have a one-in-a-million chance of having the described health effect.

In 2004 through 2006, BMU worked with McCoy & McCoy Laboratories, Inc. in their efforts to become certified to analyze water samples for Cryptosporidium and Guardia. BMU provided water samples for analysis. No Cryptosporidium or Guardia were found in the test samples. Cryptosporidium is a microbial parasite, which is found in surface water throughout the United States. These parasites can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches.


Monitoring and Reporting Violations

Our water system violated drinking water requirements over the past year.  Even though these were not emergencies, as our customers, you have the right to know what happened and what we are doing (did) to correct these situations.

*We are required to monitor your drinking water for specific contaminants on a regular basis.  Results of regular monitoring are an indicator of whether or not our drinking water meets health standards.  During October 2011, we did not complete all monitoring or testing for Total Organic Carbons (TOC) and therefore cannot be sure of the quality of your drinking water during that time.*

What should I do? – There is nothing you need to do at this time.

 We failed to submit the October Alkalinity analysis.  We were missing the sample date and time on the alkalinity analysis reporting form.  The corrected analysis form was submitted on 12/27/2011.  There were no potential health effects as a result of submitting these reports late.  The reports showed the TOC removal ratios to be within regulatory limits.

What is being done? - In the future, we will make every effort to ensure that all information on the report form is filled out.  For more information, please contact Michael Eirich, at (859) 986-4391.

*Please share this information with all other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses).  You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.*

This notice is being sent to you by Berea Municipal Utilities, State Water System ID# KY0760030.


General and Health Information

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects may be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.

“Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).”

The nitrate level in our drinking water during this reporting period was 0.2 ppm. Nitrate in drinking water at levels above 10 ppm presents a health risk for infants of less than six months of age. High nitrate levels in drinking water can cause blue baby syndrome. Nitrate levels may rise quickly for short periods of time due to rainfall or agricultural activity. If you are caring for an infant, you should ask advice from your health care provider.

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. Berea Municipal Utilities is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.

Water Plant Upgrade Project

In the past our water treatment plant was not able to meet the Total Organic Carbon removal ratio requirement of 1 or above. In March 2005, we requested that the Drinking Water Branch of the Division of Water review the TOC removal requirement in relation to our treatment process. Based on this review, we were granted an exemption from the TOC removal requirement while we pursued other treatment options. We chose to install a Dissolved Air Floatation System (DAF) to assist in the removal of TOC from the water before it goes through the filters. We began the process of installing the DAF system and new filter units in January 2009. The renovation and upgrade of the plant was completed in September 2010. We are now meeting the required treatment ratio of 1 or more. We thank you for your patience and cooperation during the construction.


Personnel News

On July 31, 2011, our Manager, Donald Blackburn and Larry Phillips, our Water/Sewer Maintenance Foreman, retired.  We wish them both well in their retirement.  On August 1, 2011, Ed Fortner, Jr. became the new manager.  We welcome Ed and look forward to working with him well into the future.

Availability of Monitoring Date for Unregulated Contaminants

Our water system has sampled for a series of unregulated contaminants. Unregulated contaminants are those that don’t yet have a drinking water standard set by USEPA. The purpose of monitoring for these contaminants is to help EPA decide whether the contaminants should have a standard. As our customers, you have a right to know that this data is available. If you are interested in examining the results, please contact our office.

Please share this information with all other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

Berea Municipal Utilities is a publicly owned utility company governed by the Berea City Council. BMU does not hold regular board meetings which would provide our customers with the opportunity to participate in decisions affecting the quality of water. However, if you have questions or concerns about the information contained in this report or are concerned about the quality of your water please contact a Berea Municipal Utilities team member by calling:

Berea Municipal Utilities Phone: (859) 986-4391

Spanish (Español) Este informe contiene información muy importante sobre la calidad de su agua beber. Tradúzcalo o hable con alguien que lo entienda bien.