(Editor’s Note: It has been 90 days since the first notice of copper levels in some samples taken of the base’s drinking water system were above the Environmental Protection Agency’s allowable level. Again, this is not at an emergency and the base’s water is safe for drinking and other uses. The following is the original public notice published and sent out in September explaining this issue in more detail. The information in this notice is still accurate, and information will continue to be provided as updates about the drinking water become available.)
Our water system recently exceeded a drinking water standard. Although this incident was not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened, what you should do, and what we are doing to correct this situation. This message is a quarterly update, required by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.
American Water, the water system operator at Hill Air Force Base, is required by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality to routinely sample water at consumers’ taps for copper. During June of 2016, American Water, took 36 samples to test for the presence of copper. Eleven of the 36 samples indicated elevated levels of copper. The standard requires that no more than three samples have elevated levels.
What should I do?
1. Run your water to flush out copper. Run water for 30 to 60 seconds or until it reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking and cooking. This flushes copper-containing water from the pipes.
2. Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Since copper dissolves more easily into hot water, do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
3. Do not boil water to remove copper. Boiling water will not reduce copper.
What does this mean?
This is not an emergency. If it had been, you would have been notified immediately. Our testing verified that Hill Air Force Base’s drinking water wells do not contain copper, but that corrosion of interior copper pipes at some consumer locations has likely occurred.
Copper is an essential nutrient, but some people who drink water containing elevated levels of copper over a relatively short period of time could experience gastrointestinal distress. Some people who drink water containing elevated levels of copper over many years could suffer liver or kidney damage.
What happened? What was done?
From June 21 through June 28, 2016, American Water conducted drinking water sampling at 36 locations on Hill Air Force Base. Elevated levels of copper were discovered in 11 of these locations. Because more than 3 samples were above the action level for copper, American Water will work with the Utah Division of Drinking Water to take additional steps to reduce the corrosiveness of the drinking water. American Water is performing a study to determine the optimal treatment technology to reduce the corrosivity of the water supplied to its customers, and will implement the optimal corrosion treatment. Additionally, American Water will conduct further testing in accordance with State and Federal Guidelines and you will be kept informed of the results.
For more information, please contact Matthew Meyer, General Manager of American Water, at 801-831-3926. Please share this information with all other people who drink the water on Hill Air Force Base, especially those who may not have received this notice directly. 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 American Water. Water system ID#06024. Distributed on November 7, 2016. Additional information on the water quality at Hill Air Force Base, and frequently asked questions can be found at www.amwater.com/ccr/hillafbmainbase.pdf.