Report: No chem residue found in Truckee River
Results from an analysis on the purity of the Truckee River are back and confirm what Truckee wastewater treatment plant officials have been saying: The major water supply for Reno and Sparks is not contaminated.
In March, the Truckee Meadows Water Authority decided to sample the Truckee River after reports surfaced in an Associated Press investigation into pharmaceutical remnants in major metropolitan water supplies, said Paul Miller, manager of operations and water quality for Truckee Meadows Water Authority.
“The data shows that no pharmaceuticals or endocrine disrupting compounds were detected in the raw or finished water samples,” Miller said in a statement.
There are no direct discharge of treated wastewater into the Truckee River like there are in other municipal areas that are under investigation, but there is an indirect discharge.
The Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency’s wastewater treatment plant ” located east of the 267 Bypass and just one mile from the Truckee River ” discharges an average of 4.5 million gallons of treated water a day into a disposal field by spray irrigation, said Jay Parker, chief engineer and assistant general manager of the plant.
Sewage water is collected from Kings Beach, Tahoe City, Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley and Truckee then treated through nearly a dozen biological, chemical and physical filtration systems. The reclaimed water is then discharged into the disposal field where it filters through the soil for several weeks before entering the river, Parker said.
“One of Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency’s most important goals is to preserve the high level of water quality in the watershed,” Parker said after hearing the results Friday. “It is great to hear that these compounds of concern were not detected.”
Tests were conducted on 31 different compounds by a nationally recognized laboratory, and two methods of analysis were performed, Miller said.
“It is important to know that in that metropolitan areas that did show the presence of some of these compounds, they were in the parts per trillion ranges,” Miller said Friday at a press conference.
“For reference, a part per billion is equivalent to one drop in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and a part per trillion is equivalent to one drop in 1000 Olympic-size swimming pools.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not require testing for drugs under the safe drinking water act; however, the issue is currently being addressed by Congress, Miller said.
“Truckee Meadows Water Authority, as with all other water utilities across the United States, is awaiting regulatory guidance regarding this matter,” Miller said at the conference.
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