Water Levels in Columbia Safe as Drinking Water Week Kicks Off

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COLUMBIA - As Drinking Water Week kicks off, the most recent water quality information for Columbia shows the water meets or exceeds all standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

According to the report, the city tests for a total of 83 chemicals. Out of those 83, in the most recent report there were 66 chemicals detected but only 15 with actual levels recorded. All of those 15 chemicals were within the allotted levels set by the EPA. The chemicals present were barium, chromium, lead, nitrate (as nitrogen), fluoride, sulfate, copper, sodium, nickel, TTHM, HAAs, radium, beta particle, uranium and radon. Some of those chemicals get tested by secondary standards and are not required by the state for testing.

The report shows Columbia water has no recorded levels of any volatile organic chemicals. Those chemicals include things like benzene, carbon tetrachloride and vinyl chloride.

The city performs 4,000 tests each year on the water for the city. Experts perform those tests at 41 different locations around the city. All of that water comes from wells that tap the 44 billion gallon aquifer in McBaine.

(Editor's note: This story has been edited to clarify the numbers in the city's water quality report.)