Truckee well will be treated for arsenic
The Northside Well, which provides water to parts of downtown Truckee, Donner Lake and Tahoe Donner, has been temporarily shut down because of high arsenic levels. A water quality report from the Truckee Donner Public Utility District that customers received recently is reflective of 2005 standards, in which the Environmental Protection Agency required that arsenic levels not exceed 50 parts per billion. In 2005, the arsenic level in the Northside Well equated to 44 ppb.However, in January of this year, the EPA lowered the maximum contaminant level to 10 ppb, forcing the well out of compliance.We are doing some quality testing now and are evaluating whether we are going to have to treat the well, said Ed Taylor, water utility manager for the utility district. All the other wells (in Truckee) are in compliance.To accurately test the arsenic levels, and to locate the spot at which the contaminant is entering the well, the water inside will be sampled at every 10 feet. In the best and cheapest case, the spot through which the arsenic is leaking in will be located and sealed for a total cost of about $60,000, Taylor said.Worst case scenario would be to treat the well at a a cost of about $200,000.The EPA requires extensive water testing and reporting each year, and the utility district must monitor dozens of contaminants such as aluminum, calcium, sodium and iron. Other than the arsenic level in the Northside Well, no other contaminants an any other well were found to be problematic.The water we have is very pure with few pollutants and no heavy industry runoff, Taylor said. Well water is consistent and quality rarely changes, so we can fine-tune it. The water that everyone is drinking is in compliance.