Apr 14, 2022

Coweta County, Georgia, Finds Traces of a Carcinogen in Drinking Water

In the last quarter of 2021, water tested above the federal limit for a chemical called TTHM

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Georgia's Metro Atlanta community received notices that for months their water contained amounts of a carcinogen above the legal limit.

According to Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray, the chemical tends to build up in less frequently used or older water lines, and the notice went out to every customer. Water officials in Coweta County told Gray that it is likely that not all of those customers are at risk.

As a result, the lines are being flushed and new equipment to reduce the chemical will be installed. More than 29,000 households received official notice from the Coweta County Water Authority, reported Channel 2 News. 

The notice told residents that in the last quarter of 2021, water tested above the federal limit for a chemical called TTHM, therefore making the county in violation of the state and federal drinking water standard. TTHM can increase the risk of bladder cancer and other health problems.

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According to the notice, residents are advised to do nothing and notes the possible long term cancer risk and immediate risks for immunocompromised people, pregnant mothers or young children, reported Channel 2 News.

According to the Environmental Working Group, even low levels of TTHM can be concerning.

The Coweta Water Authority was legally required to send notices to all 29,000 customers but they maintain the problem is limited to a small number of customers on one line.

According to Coweta’s annual water report, they are installing new equipment to reduce or eliminate TTHMs in the system going forward, reported Channel 2 News. The federal government requires quarterly water testing.

Coweta officials told Gray they are now testing monthly and they were above the limit for TTHM of 80 but are now seeing levels back down below the violation line in the 20s, reported Channel 2 News.

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