POTSDAM — The village was flagged with two water quality violations in 2017.
Trihalomethane, a chemical formed when water containing decontaminants such as chlorine react with organic materials such as decomposing vegetation, exceeded the allowable limit February 2017, according to the village’s drinking water quality report for 2017 released in May. Since the village officials were made aware of the violations, the village rectified the issue by alternating water levels more often.
Trihalomethane can be harmful to the liver, kidneys or central nervous system if consumed over many years. In 2016, trihalomethane levels were kept at a safe level.
Village Administrator Gregory O. Thompson said the chemical was coming from the water tower, rarely used, behind the Lowes home-improvement center and hardware store on Country Lane.
The water tower typically is only used in the case of a fire or a lack of water to the village. If unused, the water in the tower is rarely disturbed.
“The water was stagnant,” Mayor Reinhold J. Tischler said. “Lowering and raising the water levels in the water tower solved the problem.”
The village Department of Public Works came up with a plan to better regulate trihalomethane levels through frequent changes in water levels.
“We increased the number of times we flushed the water hydrants,” said Mr. Thompson.
The flushing of the water hydrants occurred twice a year before the adjustments to the water tower. It now occurs four times a year.
Another tactic was to cut the water source to the tower on the third Wednesday of every month so that the water level is no less than 20 feet, and then distribute the water to people’s homes, a procedure Mr. Thompson insists is safe.
The Village Board has still not made a decision on whether to continue to fluoridate drinking water.
“It’s a vocal minority of the village population who are against fluoride,” said Mr. Tischler.
The debate is becoming more relevant as the fluoridation equipment is aging. Mr. Thompson said he should know the cost of replacing equipment in about a month.
Mr. Tischler said he would refrain from making a decision until the results are presented to the Village Board.
“We’re hoping for four to five weeks,” Mr. Thompson said. “Hopefully at that point the board will make a decision.”