Dalton Utilities says chemicals in drinking water well within federal guidelines; Chattooga County has declared emergency because of PFOA and PFOS in water

Matt Hamilton/Daily Citizen-News

The Conasauga River is one of Dalton Utilities' main sources of drinking water.

Chattooga County Sole Commissioner Jason Winters issued a state of emergency on Wednesday, a step he said will make it easier to get help from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and other agencies to residents of Summerville.

Summerville residents were warned on Jan. 30 by the city government not to cook with or drink tap water after tests showed two man-made chemicals, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the water above a health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). PFOA and PFOS are related chemicals that have been used in a large variety of industrial processes for decades.

There are no EPA or Georgia Environmental Division limits on PFOA and PFOS.

Dalton Utilities reports its drinking water is well below the health advisory level.

"Dalton Utilities’ primary drinking water sources are the Conasauga River, Coahulla Creek, Mill Creek, Freeman Springs and the Tennessee River," the utility said in a statement. "The treated drinking water leaving our plants was tested for PFOA and PFOS in 2015 in accordance with EPA’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule. Our drinking water tested below the minimum reporting level (MRL, to the EPA) for PFOS. According to the lab that performed the analyses, one PFOA sample result from our Mill Creek Water Treatment Plant was equal to the lab’s MRL of 20 parts per trillion. All other samples from our drinking water plants were below the MRL."

2015 was the most recent testing.

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