With the current water issues in bigger and older cities like Flint, Mich., Eureka Springs city leaders are paying attention. They’re working to make sure city water lines are clean, and contaminant free.
The city was founded on July 4, 1879 and was rumored to have ‘healing waters’. If that myth were true, then director of the Public Works Department, Dwayne Allen would like to keep it that way.
Allen recently wrote to the city’s mayor, Butch Berry about water testing. Berry eventually passed the letter on to the city council. Allen would like to pipes and fittings containing any lead to be replaced on public and private sides. Allen wants to ensure that Eureka Springs has suitable drinking water for its residents and visitors alike.
“We have some older plumbing with some lead lines in older Victorian parts of the city.
The issue here is that they started adding fluoride within the water source. We’re just squishing the fears and trying to let everyone know, this is your public water source here. We’re keeping an eye on corrosion. I think with the Flint, Michigan thing, it’s always been there but has come to a national level,” said Allen. “We’ve looked at engineers with the fluoride, and there was not enough scientific evidence that is going to cross corrosion with the fluoride. We’re just making sure that there’s not a problem in our water, it’s just kind of doing a little extra testing. We’ve taken some lines out”.
He said that you have to be extra careful when removing the lines, because you don’t want anything unwanted to leech onto someone else. He also notes that the EPA is revising the Lead and Copper rule in 2017. This would regulate the amount of allowed lead and copper in plumbing.
Public Works is currently testing Tier 1 areas, to try to catch lead in the lower numbers. Allen says they are particularly testing around schools, day cares and anywhere else where there are a lot of children. He said the city will test what it can, and send out samples for testing it can’t handle. Allen adds that the testing works.
“We did a program 3 or 4 years ago where we went out and replaced the main back to the meter, and if there is any sign of lead joints within that service line, we notify the home owner before we do any work. This issue gets back to a lot of older homes with older plumbing and the cost of getting those replaced. The goal of course is for zero lead at some point in everybody’s system.”
Allen said currently there is no reason for concern. The city and Public Works are just taking precautions to ensure that there is never a bigger issue within their water system.
Ben Cain is a freelance contributor to KSPR.com’s 11 Cities.