What to do now?
If you haven’t flushed your system in the affected area, then you need to do so. Start with hot (for 30 minutes) followed by cold (for 30 minutes). Empty ice trays from refrigerator.
The No Drink Order has been lifted for the area that includes 10600 South to 11400 South and 700 East to 2000 East.
Schools in the affected area
The schools were notified and Sandy staff flushed their systems over the weekend. There were no schools affected above 1700 East. The schools that were affected between 1700 East and 700 East are Alta High School, Sunrise Elementary, and Altara Elementary. Here is the message that went to parents and guardians in the affected area:
This message is for parents and guardians of students at SCHOOL NAME. Canyons District and NAME SCHOOL administrations were notified Friday afternoon that results of water testing in Sandy had showed elevated levels of lead and copper in the city’s water system that services the neighborhoods between 10600 South and 11400 South and 700 East and 2000 East. As NAME SCHOOL is within this perimeter, we are enacting precautions to ensure the safety of our students. We began work on an action plan to address this issue as soon as we were notified on Friday afternoon about the results of the city’s water-quality tests. On Tuesday morning, when students and teachers return after the Presidents Day Recess, bottled water will be available for students, teachers and staff. Meals that do not require water from the faucet for either preparation or clean-up will be made and served in the cafeteria. In addition, over the weekend, all the water pipes in the school were drained. While we are participating in Sandy City’s water-testing protocols that have been enacted as a result of this mitigation effort, we also are conducting independent tests of the quality of the water at NAME SCHOOL. Canyons District’s Risk Management Office will take water samples from randomly selected sinks and fountains throughout the building on Monday morning and send it to a private company for testing. We will continue to provide bottled water and an alternative meal menu until tests confirm the water is clear of dangerous-levels of contaminants. We also are including here information that was sent to residents by Sandy City. This information also is available at Public Works site. If you have additional questions about Sandy’s water-quality mitigation effort, please call 801-352-4421. Questions or concerns the about NAME SCHOOL response can be directed via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 801-826-5084 or 801-826-5050.
Sandy City is providing water testing for households in the affected area
We are testing the water system in the affected area. Testing of the water system in the affected area will involve intensive testing for the next few weeks. The city continually monitors our water system as part of city and state requirements. However, because of this incident, we will have intensive water quality monitoring throughout the rest of the year.
Whether chronic or acute, you would possibly have a dry/foul taste in your mouth or gastrointestinal issues. Please contact your healthcare professional or Poison Control. 1-800-222-1222.
We did send out a reverse 911 notification to the residents in the affected area but have been notified that these messages only went to landlines. You will only get a reverse 911 message to your cell phone if you sign up for these messages. You can sign up here, http://www.vecc9-1-1.com/voip-registration/.
We are complying with the law. If you have any questions about fluoridation, please contact SLCoHD (Salt Lake County Health Department). 385-468-4130
Water Bill Credit
There will be a credit on your water bill to cover the cost of the flush.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Q: Water was collected from my home; how do I get the results?
A: The city will contact you directly if there is an issue, but if your results show safe drinking water we will not contact you. However, all certified lab tests will be posted on our webpage for all residents to see.
Q: Will homeowners need to replace pipes in their homes?
A: No. The fluoride overfeed incident may have temporarily affected the protective coating of the plumbing within homes. With the pH of the water returning to normal, there is no more acidic effect that will contribute to the leaching of the metals into the water. Older homes may be more susceptible because of the materials commonly used when those homes were built. If the flushing instructions have been followed and if the lab tests indicate results within normal limits, home pipes should be fine. Homes that were closest to the fluoride incident that initially tested high, are now normal.
Q: Why did Sandy City decide to take only 28 samples in the morning of February 16, 2019?
A: The 28 sample sites chosen for the testing on February 16, 2019 and were strategically selected to represent the potentially affected area. It is common practice in these types of situations to select representative samples across the community. However, Sandy City Administration remains committed to test EVERY home within the potentially affected area.
Q: How does water sampling work?
A: Sandy City staff and volunteers are being trained in sampling techniques to assure validity of the sample. All samples are labeled and follow the “chain of custody” requirement. All samples are processed and analyzed in a certified lab. The results are tracked and evaluated to determine compliance with Drinking Water regulations and safety. A detailed laboratory report is produced on every sample. Based on the representative samples collected in the affected area, the No Drinking Order was lifted in Zone 3 (700 E to 1700 E, 10600 S. to 11400 S.) on February 17, 2019. This decision was made in coordination with the State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), State Water Safety Division officials, Salt Lake County Health Department and the EPA.
Q: What happens if my home still has levels above the acceptable standards?
A: The city water pipes and supply continue to test as safe, but it’s possible that some homes may show levels of contaminants above the standards. This is because of unique conditions within the home that may need further investigation if a thorough “flushing” has been performed (30 minutes ALL taps on hot, followed by 30 minutes of ALL taps on cold, and empty ice trays and pet water dishes). Sandy City will coordinate with those individual homeowners to provide further guidance and testing if needed.
Q: What if I have concerns about the fluoride, lead or copper levels that I may have ingested that may be harmful to me and my family?
A: If you are concerned, please consult with your health care provider. For example, symptoms related high fluoride exposure may include gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pains, nausea, stomach cramping and possible dry or foul taste in the mouth. The most susceptible populations include infants, elderly, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems. With the sample data we have collected, the lead and copper are well below the levels normally seen for acute effects. The bigger concern is long term exposure, which is being investigated with follow up sampling. For additional detailed information, check Sandy City’s website at www.sandy.utah.gov or contact Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.
Q: How do I feel confident that my water is safe to drink even though the No Drinking Order has been lifted in my area?
A: In the Zone where the No Drinking Order was lifted, residents should have high confidence in the safety of their drinking water. Testing of the City water system and individual homes will continue and results will be shared in a timely and transparent manner. In the event any high metal lab results, it is most likely due to the conditions within the home and not in the city’s drinking water system.
Q: What happens if I have sediment, murky or colored water in my home?
A: If sediment is present or your water is murky or colored it is normal any time a water system is being flushed. If you encounter discolored water in your home, you should flush until you have the desired clarity in your water.
Q: What if my pet ingested the contaminated water?
A: If affected, your pet would likely have symptoms similar to those of a human. If so, you may want to contact your local veterinarian if your pet has any of the symptoms such as: stomach pains, nausea, or stomach cramping. For additional detailed information, check Sandy City’s website at www.sandy.utah.gov or contact Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.
Q: What if my child has been drinking water in the identified area for a week?
A: If your child is experiencing symptoms, please contact your local health provider or Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222. The schools in the affected area have tested clean, even prior to flushing of their systems.
Q: How do I flush my home water system?
A: Run EVERY TAP IN YOUR HOME CONCURRENTLY for a total of 60 minutes. Start with hot (for 30 minutes) followed by cold (for 30 minutes). Empty ice trays from refrigerator. Do not drink water or cook with water until notified that results are back to safe levels.
Q: Is Sandy city providing water testing for households in the affected area
A: We are testing the water system in the affected area. Testing of the water system in the affected area will involve intensive testing for the next few weeks. The city continually monitors our water system as part of city and state requirements. However, because of this incident, we will have intensive water quality monitoring throughout the rest of the year. To request testing, please fill out request form at www.sandy.utah.gov.
Q: Did Sandy City follow protocol for notifying regulatory agencies?
A: Sandy City did follow protocol for notifying the Health Department on the day the incident was discovered and notified the state DEQ the next day.
Q: Wondering if there was an increase in chlorine added to the water to compensate for the low ph caused by the fluoride?
A: There was no chlorine added in the water.
Q: Is Sandy City providing water testing for households in the affected area?
A: We are testing the water system in the affected area. Testing of the water system in the affected area will involve intensive testing for the next few weeks. The city continually monitors our water system as part of city and state requirements. However, because of this incident, we will have intensive water quality monitoring throughout the rest of the year.
Q: How do we stop fluoride from being added to our water to begin with?? As citizens of Sandy do we start a petition? I hate that there is no choice in whether to have fluoride in our water systems or not.
A: We are complying with a voter referendum in 2000 that directed fluoride to be added to the water.
Q: How is it you notified a few residents last week and nothing was said to anyone else. Then today we find out on the news, and it is stated that there were reverse 911 calls that went out. We live in the affected area and never received a reverse 911 call.
A: We have expanded the flush order much further than the affected area in order to be overly cautious. Those who were affected by the original fluoride issue were contacted immediately. Reverse 911 only contacts landlines and those cell phone users who have signed up for the system.
Q: So, if we are not in the affected area (outside the map borders), do we flush? It just says Sandy City residents, not specifically the affected areas?
A: If you are not in the affected area, you do not need to flush your water system.
Q: So how will this be adjusted to reflect on our bills? Are we expected to pay for running tainted water?
A: Sandy City will provide a credit for the cost of the water due to flushing of your system.
Q: Anyone who has researched this stuff knows how toxic it is. Where are the high levels of Lead and Copper coming from? The Flouride? Or is the Flouride so corrosive that it is causing it to leach from the pipes into our water? Or Both? Is this another Flint Michigan disaster? where you need to replace all of our pipes from this corrosive disaster as it will continue to leach into our drinking water now?
A: The city’s main water system does not have lead and copper. The concern is most home plumbing has lead and copper which would leech out if high concentrations of fluoride were in the home. By flushing the hot water and cold water each for 30 minutes, that should get rid of any extra fluoride or leeched copper/lead from your system. For latest information: https://sandy.utah.gov/departments/public-utilities
Q: What about the several schools in the affected area?
A: The schools have been notified and Sandy staff have tested the water already today. There were no schools affected above 1700 East. The schools that were affected between 1700 East and 700 East are Alta High School, Sunrise Elementary, and Altara Elementary.
Q: Do we need to change our water filters?
A: If you haven’t changed your water filter in the last six months, it is recommended that you change it. You will also need to refer to the manufacturer recommendations for your specific water filter.
Q: What safe guards are going to be put in place to prevent this from happening after a power outage?
A: We will be hiring independent consultants to evaluate our entire system in addition to our staff testing and working with the state.
Q: if my pipes – or city pipes – have been affected by the corrosive fluoride, how is ongoing lead and copper contamination from those pipes going to be mitigated??
A: We are waiting for test results and will work with the State on any further needed action.
Q: How can you be sure that this problem only affects the area you mentioned and doesn’t extend to other parts of Sandy? Doesn’t the whole city get its water from the same place?
A: The affected area is in a “closed” zone which means the contamination cannot leave the zone/affected area.
Q: I’m outside the affected area and my water was a brown copper color in the bathtub. I advise more people to take precautions.
A: When everyone is flushing the water lines it tends to stir up sediment in the water lines, it doesn’t mean your area is affected. However, please send us your address and we will come test the water in your home.
Q: I’m not in the affected zone, BUT it sounds like after testing for Fluoride you accidentally stumbled onto lead and copper. Knowing this, are you/do you plan to test all other sections of the city water system for this?
A: We ran tests for metals at the same time as the fluoride tests. Areas outside of the specified area will not be affected and we don’t need to collect samples in other areas. There was not contamination outside of the affected area.
Q: And had you made businesses aware? We ate at a restaurant today that is located inside the boundary. How can we be sure their water is safe?
A: Yes, we notified restaurants, schools, churches and daycares in the area. We are waiting for sample results to confirm that the water is safe to drink.
Q: What do I do if I have a blood test and there are higher levels of lead in my system?
A: Please supply your physician’s test to the County Health Department. The County Health Department will work with Sandy City on this matter.