Sep 17, 2010

Ohio EPA Announces Drinking Water Emergency for Village of Camden

Chloride levels have made drinking water in two city wells unpalatable for consumption since July

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director Chris Korleski determined that a water supply emergency exists in Camden and ordered the village to find a way to provide village residents with drinking water that is safe and palatable by Oct. 30.

“This is an emergency and should be taken seriously,” Korleski said. “Ohio EPA will continue to work with local officials to appropriately deal with this situation. However, village leaders need to move quickly to find a solution that provides safe drinking water to the residents of Camden.”

His action comes two weeks after village mayor Gunter Sylvanis Jr. agreed on behalf of the village to tie into Southwest Regional’s water system, and eight days after the Camden village council agreed. However, the council reversed its support Friday, and notified Ohio EPA that the village was breaking off its attempts to connect to the regional water system. The village did not notify the agency of its plans to provide potable water.

Beginning in late July, village residents began noticing a salty taste to their drinking water. Since then, the village has exceeded the chloride standards in each of its three wells. Water from wells two and three is unpalatable for human consumption. The chloride level in well one continues to increase and it is likely that concentrations in the near future will make it unpalatable as well. According to Ohio EPA, the village has demonstrated that it has not taken the necessary action to provide an alternate supply of potable water in adequate quantity by discontinuing efforts to connect to the regional water system.

Therefore, Korleski issued orders requiring the village to:

• Continue to provide bottled water (at least 2 gal per day per household) until an alternative approved water source is obtained;

• Connect to or establish an alternate approved water supply that meets all primary (health-based) and secondary (aesthetic) drinking water standards by Oct. 30, 2010;

• Produce at least 160,000 gal of water per day; and

• Submit detailed plans for the option chosen by Sept. 30, 2010. The final connection must be in place no later than Oct. 30, 2010.

Failure to adhere to these orders could result in a referral to the Ohio Attorney General’s office and, potentially, loss of the village’s license to operate a drinking water system.