Water Quality Update

August 17, 2017
Results from our latest test show HAA5 at 30 ppb. This is up some from our last test, but still very low, and only half of the maximum allowable levels.

May 11, 2017

Results from our latest test of water quality are now in, and we are well within compliance with state standards. While our last test, at one of our sites, had haloacetic acids (HAA5) at 67.93 parts per billion, we are now pleased to announce that the latest test at that site reports HAA5 at 9.90 parts per billion. The maximum contaminant level (MCL) for HAA5 is 60 parts per billion.

Our other testing sites had similar results for both HAA5 and trihalomethanes, so we are at a fraction of the MCL for both of these disinfection byproducts at all of our testing sites.


March 7, 2017

Your water is safe to drink, just as it always has been.

What Happened?
A test of water quality in January indicated that we have exceeded the yearly average Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for five Haloacetic Acids (HAA5) by 7.93 parts per billion at one of our testing sites. This is roughly equivalent to 8 drops of water in an ordinary sized swimming pool.

The MCL for HAA5 is 60 ug/L (milligrams per liter, or parts per billion). The local running annual average at one of our testing sites was 67.93 ug/L.

Our HAA5 was quite low in our quarterly tests last July and October, after the state granted a permit that allowed AWA to adjust its dosage of ACH, a coagulant that removes organic carbon from our water. But January’s results, together with the high HAA5 on our test in March 2016- which required us to send out a public notification last year- have once again put us into noncompliance on our annual average.

This only affects the residents of our Unit 1, which is the area near Meadow Drive, north of the golf course. Disinfection byproducts for Unit 2, in the Meadow Vista area south of the golf course, are below the MCL.

Why Did This Happen?
We purchase our water from the Amador Water Agency, which has encountered problems due to runoff caused by very heavy rains at the beginning of this year. The heavy rainfall has washed an unusual amount of organic material (dirt, leaves, etc) into our water supply. AWA’s measurements for Total Organic Carbon in the water coming from the Gravity Supply Line have been double their usual.

The pictures below will tell you at a glance what AWA is dealing with. The picture at the top is of the Tiger Creek Regulator, which is the source of the Gravity Supply Line that brings our water to the Buckhorn Treatment Plant. Beneath that picture you will see what this water looked like as it spilled over the dam at the Tiger Creek Afterbay a short distance downstream.

UPDATE 3/11/17: Mudslides have closed the service road to the regulator, so our water will be pumped up from the afterbay for the next 2-3 weeks.

Is This A Problem?
Not over the short term. Some level of HAA5 will be found in any surface water that has been treated with chlorine. It is a byproduct of the disinfection process, created when organic carbon in the water comes into contact with chlorine. The Environmental Protection Agency thinks that HAA5 may have a negative impact on health, if consumed in excess of the maximum contaminant level for an extended period of time, i.e. many years.

What Are We Doing About It?
There is good reason to think that this situation would improve on its own as turbidity in the water diminishes going into spring. However, AWA is also taking a number of steps to improve our water quality, which include increased water quality monitoring, optimizing tank levels and system flushing, and enhancing the filtration process at the Buckhorn Treatment Plant.

AWA is increasing its dosage of ACH, which will reduce the level of organic carbon in the water. AWA is acting very proactively in this matter and is very responsive to our concerns. We are hopeful that our test later this month will show that we have already returned to compliance with the MCL.

It will help that the high HAA5 levels from our test of March 2016 will no longer be included in our average.

We are also happy to announce that construction has now begun on AWA’s new backwash recycling facility. You can see the construction activity taking place alongside Highway 88, at the Buckhorn Treatment Plant. Once it is completed, this facility will provide a permanent solution to water quality problems such as those AWA is currently experiencing. AWA expects this project to be completed later this year. Best of all, AWA received a grant from the state for this work, which means that this improvement to our infrastructure will cost our association nothing. A photo of the construction site appears below.

Here is an article in the Ledger Dispatch about the new facility.

We will update this page as we receive additional information.


The Tiger Creek Regulator


The Tiger Creek Dam on the Mokelumne River


Construction of the backwash recycling facility has begun at the Buckhorn Treatment Plant; the view is from Highway 88.

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