2018 Drinking Water Report
This report contains important information about your drinking water. Have someone translate it for you, or speak with someone who understands it.
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Making Safe Drinking Water
Your drinking water comes from a groundwater source: eight wells ranging from 87 to 142 feet deep, that draw water from the Quaternary Buried Unconfined, Quaternary Buried Artesian and Quaternary Water Table aquifers.
Windom works hard to provide you with safe and reliable drinking water that meets federal and state water quality requirements. The purpose of this report is to provide you with information on your drinking water and how to protect our precious water resources.
Contact Mike Haugen, Water & Wastewater Superintendent, at 507-831-6138 or Mike.Haugen@windommn.com if you have questions about Windom’s drinking water. You can also ask for information about how you can take part in decisions that may affect water quality.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets safe drinking water standards. These standards limit the amounts of specific contaminants allowed in drinking water. This ensures that tap water is safe to drink for most people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the amount of certain contaminants in bottled water. Bottled water must provide the same public health protection as public tap water.
Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1‑800‑426‑4791.
Windom Monitoring Results
This report contains our monitoring results from January 1 to December 31, 2018.
We work with the Minnesota Department of Health to test drinking water for more than 100 contaminants. In recent years, we found one or more contaminants with levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s limits. We found some other contaminants in small amounts, but they were below the Environmental Protection Agency’s limits.
Learn more by visiting the Minnesota Department of Health’s webpage Basics of Monitoring and Testing of Drinking Water in Minnesota (https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/factsheet/sampling.html).
How to Read the Water Quality Data Tables
The tables below show the contaminants we found last year or the most recent time we sampled for that contaminant. They also show the levels of those contaminants and the Environmental Protection Agency’s limits. Substances that we tested for but did not find are not included in the tables.
We sample for some contaminants less than once a year because their levels in water are not expected to change from year to year. If we found any of these contaminants the last time we sampled for them, we included them in the tables below with the detection date.
We may have done additional monitoring for contaminants that are not included in the Safe Drinking Water Act. To request a copy of these results, call the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-4700 or 1-800-818-9318 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- AL (Action Level): The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.
- EPA: Environmental Protection Agency
- MCL (Maximum contaminant level): The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.
- MCLG (Maximum contaminant level goal): The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.
- Level 1 Assessment: A Level 1 assessment is a study of the water system to identify potential problems and determine (if possible) why total coliform bacteria have been found in our water system.
- Level 2 Assessment: A Level 2 assessment is a very detailed study of the water system to identify potential problems and determine (if possible) why an E. coli MCL violation has occurred and/or why total coliform bacteria have been found in our water system on multiple occasions.
- MRDL (Maximum residual disinfectant level): The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.
- MRDLG (Maximum residual disinfectant level goal): The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.
- NA (Not applicable): Does not apply.
- NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Units): A measure of the cloudiness of the water (turbidity).
- pCi/l (picocuries per liter): A measure of radioactivity.
- ppb (parts per billion): One part per billion in water is like one drop in one billion drops of water, or about one drop in a swimming pool. ppb is the same as micrograms per liter (μg/l).
- ppm (parts per million): One part per million is like one drop in one million drops of water, or about one cup in a swimming pool. ppm is the same as milligrams per liter (mg/l).
- PWSID: Public water system identification.
- TT (Treatment Technique): A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.
- Variances and Exemptions: State or EPA permission not to meet an MCL or a treatment technique under certain conditions.
Monitoring Results – Regulated Substances
LEAD AND COPPER – Tested at customer taps.
INORGANIC & ORGANIC CONTAMINANTS – Tested in drinking water.
CONTAMINANTS RELATED TO DISINFECTION – Tested in drinking water.
Total HAA refers to HAA5
OTHER SUBSTANCES – Tested in drinking water.
Potential Health Effects and Corrective Actions (If Applicable)
Copper: Copper is an essential nutrient, but some people who drink water containing copper in excess of the action level over a relatively short amount of time could experience gastrointestinal distress. Some people who drink water containing copper in excess of the action level over many years could suffer liver or kidney damage. People with Wilson’s disease should consult their personal doctor.
Copper: We are in exceedance of the action level for copper. Copper is an essential nutrient, but some people who drink water containing copper in excess of the action level over a relatively short amount of time could experience gastrointestinal distress. Some people who drink water containing copper in excess of the action level over many years could suffer liver or kidney damage. People with Wilson’s Disease should consult their personal doctor. In response to this issue, we performed a corrosion control study and/or have taken actions to make the water less likely to absorb materials such as copper from your plumbing.
Some People Are More Vulnerable to Contaminants in Drinking Water
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. The developing fetus and therefore pregnant women may also be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water. These people or their caregivers should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1‑800‑426‑4791.
Learn More about Your Drinking Water
Drinking Water Sources
Minnesota’s primary drinking water sources are groundwater and surface water. Groundwater is the water found in aquifers beneath the surface of the land. Groundwater supplies 75 percent of Minnesota’s drinking water. Surface water is the water in lakes, rivers, and streams above the surface of the land. Surface water supplies 25 percent of Minnesota’s drinking water.
Contaminants can get in drinking water sources from the natural environment and from people’s daily activities. There are five main types of contaminants in drinking water sources.
- Microbial contaminants, such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Sources include sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, pets, and wildlife.
- Inorganic contaminants include salts and metals from natural sources (e.g. rock and soil), oil and gas production, mining and farming operations, urban stormwater runoff, and wastewater discharges.
- Pesticides and herbicides are chemicals used to reduce or kill unwanted plants and pests. Sources include agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and commercial and residential properties.
- Organic chemical contaminants include synthetic and volatile organic compounds. Sources include industrial processes and petroleum production, gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, and septic systems.
- Radioactive contaminants such as radium, thorium, and uranium isotopes come from natural sources (e.g. radon gas from soils and rock), mining operations, and oil and gas production.
The Minnesota Department of Health provides information about your drinking water source(s) in a source water assessment, including:
- How Windom is protecting your drinking water source(s);
- Nearby threats to your drinking water sources;
- How easily water and pollution can move from the surface of the land into drinking water sources, based on natural geology and the way wells are constructed.
Find your source water assessment at Source Water Assessments (https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/swp/swa) or call 651-201-4700 or 1-800-818-9318 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Lead in Drinking Water
You may be in contact with lead through paint, water, dust, soil, food, hobbies, or your job. Coming in contact with lead can cause serious health problems for everyone. There is no safe level of lead. Babies, children under six years, and pregnant women are at the highest risk.
Lead is rarely in a drinking water source, but it can get in your drinking water as it passes through lead service lines and your household plumbing system. Windom provides high quality drinking water, but it cannot control the plumbing materials used in private buildings.
Read below to learn how you can protect yourself from lead in drinking water.
- Let the water run for 30-60 seconds before using it for drinking or cooking if the water has not been turned on in over six hours. If you have a lead service line, you may need to let the water run longer. A service line is the underground pipe that brings water from the main water pipe under the street to your home.
- You can find out if you have a lead service line by contacting your public water system, or you can check by following the steps at: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/06/24/npr-find-lead-pipes-in-your-home
- The only way to know if lead has been reduced by letting it run is to check with a test. If letting the water run does not reduce lead, consider other options to reduce your exposure.
- Use cold water for drinking, making food, and making baby formula. Hot water releases more lead from pipes than cold water.
- Test your water. In most cases, letting the water run and using cold water for drinking and cooking should keep lead levels low in your drinking water. If you are still concerned about lead, arrange with a laboratory to test your tap water. Testing your water is important if young children or pregnant women drink your tap water.
- Contact a Minnesota Department of Health accredited laboratory to get a sample container and instructions on how to submit a sample:
Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (https://eldo.web.health.state.mn.us/public/accreditedlabs/labsearch.seam)
The Minnesota Department of Health can help you understand your test results.
- Contact a Minnesota Department of Health accredited laboratory to get a sample container and instructions on how to submit a sample:
- Treat your water if a test shows your water has high levels of lead after you let the water run.
- Visit Lead in Drinking Water (https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/contaminants/lead.html)
- Visit Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water (http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead)
- Call the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1‑800‑426‑4791.To learn about how to reduce your contact with lead from sources other than your drinking water, visit Lead Poisoning Prevention: Common Sources (https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/lead/sources.html).
Home Water Treatment
The Pros and Cons of Home Water Softening
When considering whether to use a water softener, contact your public water system to find out if you have hard water. Many systems treat for hardness, making water softeners unnecessary.
Water softeners are a water treatment device. They remove water hardness (dissolved calcium and magnesium). Water softeners must be installed and maintained properly to be safe and effective. Learn more at Home Water Softening (https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/factsheet/softening.html).
The benefits of soft water include:
▪ Increased efficiency for soaps and detergents.
▪ Reduction in mineral staining on fixtures and in pipes.
▪ A potential increase in the lifespan of water heaters.
The drawbacks of soft water include:
▪ Operation and maintenance costs.
▪ More sodium. People on low-sodium diets should consult a doctor if they plan to regularly consume softened water.
▪ The production of salt brine as a byproduct. This can have negative effects at wastewater treatment plants and on ecosystems. Reduce the amount of salt brine used or install a salt-free system.