BY BONNIE PRINGLE, GASPARILLA ISLAND WATER ASSOCIATION –
Gasparilla Island Water Association, Inc. (GIWA) is pleased to present to you this year’s Annual Drinking Water Quality Report. This report is designed to inform you about the quality of water and services we deliver to you every day. We want you to understand the efforts we make to continually improve the water treatment process and protect our water resources. We are committed to ensuring the quality of your water. We are pleased to report that our drinking water meets all federal and state requirements.
Our constant goal is to provide you with a safe and dependable supply of drinking water. GIWA produced 394 million gallons of quality drinking water in 2015.
Your water source is from groundwater wells that draw from both surficial and middle intermediate aquifers. Approximately 75 percent of the water comes from brackish water drawn from the middle intermediate aquifers and treated by reverse osmosis (RO). The remaining 25 percent is shallow- well water drawn from the surficial aquifer that is treated by a color-removal plant. The treated water from both plants is blended, a polymer is added for corrosion control, and then it is disinfected with chloramines before pumping to the water distribution system.
GIWA also purchases water from Charlotte County Utilities (CCU) when the demand for water exceeds production capabilities or when our plant is out of service for maintenance. Last year we purchased 11 million gallons of water from CCU. For a copy of CCU’s water quality data, please contact GIWA.
Members are encouraged to be informed about their water utility. If you have any questions about this report or GIWA, please contact Bonnie Pringle, utility director, at 941-964-2423. GIWA’s board meetings are held at 8:30 a.m. at our office (1700 East Railroad Avenue, Boca Grande) on the first Wednesday of each month.
This report will be mailed to customers upon request, and it is also available at GIWA’s office.
What Happened in Flint, Michigan?
In support of the dedicated men and women in the drinking water industry, the National Rural Water Association released the following statement: “What happened in Flint, MI is less about water regulation and more about government failures and mismanagement. There are approximately 52,000 community water supplies in the nation, and 92 percent serve populations of 10,000 or less, such as GIWA. Those small systems, including GIWA, do an excellent job in complying with all the regulatory requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act, including the lead and copper rule. To ensure compliance, GIWA tests for lead and copper levels in samples collected from older homes that are at greatest risk for leaching of lead and copper into tap water due to older plumbing and fixtures.
What Can I Expect to Find in My Drinking Water?
The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and it can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.
Contaminants that may be present in source water include:
Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.
Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally occurring or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.
Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban stormwater runoff and residential uses.
Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production and can also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff and septic systems.
Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production or mining activities.
In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the EPA prescribes regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water, which must provide the same protection for public health.
Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.
Source Water Assessment Plan
In 2015, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) performed a Source Water Assessment on our system. The assessment was conducted to provide information about any potential sources of contamination in the vicinity of our wells. The assessment results are available on the FDEP Source Water Assessment and Protection Program website at dep.state.fl.us/swapp.
There are three potential sources identified for our system with low levels of concern for contamination. The potential sources are industrial wastewater permits for three concrete plants. Those permits include conditions that are designed to protect groundwater and are monitored by FDEP to insure compliance.
Additionally, Charlotte County has a Wellhead Protection Ordinance in place that is designed to protect our water supply. This ordinance requires anyone wishing to conduct business within 1,500 feet of our wells to enter into an agreement with GIWA that contains specific conditions for protecting our water supply from contamination as a result of their operation.
Lead in Drinking Water
If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. GIWA is responsible for providing high-quality drinking water but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to two minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at epa.gov/safewater/lead.
People with Special Concerns
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk for infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their healthcare providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbiological contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).