Water quality report rates Cannon’s water

Alisa Boswell

The Cannon Air Force Base 2010 Water Quality Report was recently released, which stated Cannon’s water sources are ranked at moderate for susceptibility, meaning the water is safe to drink but precautions must be taken for certain types of individuals.

The report revealed a bacteriological contamination, which exceeded maximum contaminant level (MCL) for total coliforms and e. coli, was discovered in the drinking water at Cannon on April 21, 2010.

“Coliforms are bacteria that are naturally present in the environment,” the report said. “And are used as an indicator that other, potentially harmful bacteria may be present.”

The bacteria, when found to exceed MCL, is an indication that human or animal fecal matter is in the water source.

Water consumers were quickly notified of the contamination and the issue was resolved within three days. According to the report, Cannon officials disinfected the water “by increasing the level of chlorination and identifying the possible sources of contamination.

Cannon officials at the Bioenvironmental Department declined to comment on the source of the contamination.

The “boil water advisory” placed on Cannon when the contamination was found was lifted on April 24, 2010, after the water had been treated and re-tested.

The report said tap water for Cannon has met all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state drinking water health standards since this incident.

The report also said some people are more vulnerable than others when it comes to water contaminants, such as immuno-compromised people (cancer, HIV or organ transplant patients). The report said people fitting this description should ask their health care professionals about drinking water.

It also said parents of children under 9 years old should take precautions with drinking water to avoid staining and pitting their children’s teeth, which can happen because of high levels of naturally-occurring fluoride in water.

The report said whether bottled or tap, water may often contain contaminants of some kind because all water comes from natural water sources, such as lakes, rivers, springs and more, meaning it is exposed to many open elements.

“As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity,” the report said. “In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems.”

The entire water system for Cannon being ranked at moderate for susceptibility means it is safe to drink but slightly high in fluoride, which means children under 9 years old and adults with bone problems should drink a limited amount of tap water.

“The Cannon AFB Water System is responsible for providing high-quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components,” the report said. “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.”

For information about drinking water, contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.