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Dayton City officials: 'Water is safe to drink'

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Residents in one Rhea County community are uneasy after learning their drinking water was recently not up to federal standards. The Dayton Water Department insists the water is safe to drink, placing a public notice in the local paper.

The byproducts found in the water are a result of a chemical reaction. If ingested for a long period of time they can cause cancer, liver and kidney problems. The chemicals are always in drinking water, but the elevated levels are what caused concern, forcing the local water company to notify its customers.

In a public notice, on page 13 of the local paper, the Dayton Water Department assures customers its water is safe to drink.

“They are back to normal. We've done testing in December, January, and February. We are back to the normal levels,” says Water Superintendent, Mike Patrick.

The department routinely monitors drinking water for contaminants. Last November's water samples came back with elevated levels of two contaminants. One chemical tested two parts per billion above what federal law allows. The other was seven parts per billion over the limit. Superintendent Mike Patrick attributes the increase to how the water is recycled. 

“With our new water treatment plant we changed our recycling process and with that process that elevated the levels,” he says.

Patrick says a notice was mailed to all Dayton Water customers and placed in the local paper telling them the levels are back to normal. It says there is no need to boil water or take action.

Some customers worry the problem may return, others feel assured. 

“I hope they clean it up. Do whatever it takes to purify and clean it up, for people to feel safe to drink it,” says Faye Clark.

“I am not worried about it at all because I have confidence in my city people,” says Edward Walker.

Patrick says the department will continue to monitor the levels. Changes to the recycling program lowered levels significantly.

Patrick says it's state law that requires the department to issue a public notice but he wants customers to know their water is safe.

“It wasn't an emergency, you would have to drink the water over many years to be affected and we have everything back to where it should be,” says Patrick.

The same notice will be posted in the newspaper again this spring.

For any questions you can contact the water department at (423)-775-1818.

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