UPDATE: Ringgold residents concerned about chemicals found in wa - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Ringgold residents concerned about chemicals found in water system

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RINGGOLD, GA (WRCB) -

People living in Ringgold want to know why it took so long to be told about a chemical in their drinking water.

City officials sent out a letter on Wednesday explaining how the water system violated a drinking water standard.

In the letter, they stated that they plan on flushing the lines more often and changing the way they treat the water.

The most recent test for chemicals from September met standards and officials said the water is safe to drink, but some neighbors are still concerned.

"The fact that we were exposed to a chemical and didn't know anything about it for that long of a period is not okay," Rhonda Swaney, a Ringgold resident said.

A spike in chemicals called Haloacetic acids from a rainy June is what city officials say led to the violation. It's a byproduct of chlorine that's used to disinfect the drinking water.

A letter sent to Swaney and others living in Ringgold mentioned drinking water with the chemicals over many years may increase someone's risk of getting cancer. They emphasized this was not an emergency.

"Your first initial reaction is to flip out because you see in a letter the word, carcinogen," Swaney said.

The letter shows that water samples from four quarters ending in June of this year averaged above the accepted level for the chemicals.

"This is the only time this has happened and I drink the water. I take the showers and brush my teeth with the city water and i have no qualms about doing that," Mayor Nick Millwood of Ringgold said.

"Can he guarantee it's safe? I mean he can't say if it's safe. If they found something in it, it's not safe," Jody Duckett, another resident said.

That's what's keeping Jody Duckett on edge. She and others want to know why they weren't notified sooner.

Channel 3 took that concern to the mayor.

"That resonated with me. To me, that was something like 'hey, why can't we? Why wouldn't we? Why shouldn't we report that right away?,'" Mayor Millwood said.

City officials said they were notified about the violation in early October and they sent out letters on Wednesday. That's within the 30 day guideline, but Mayor Millwood said that needs to change. 

Other neighbors like Swaney believe the water is safe, but have some doubt.

"There's always that little bit of your mind that thinks, 'am I exposing my kids to things they shouldn't be?,'" Swaney said.

The mayor plans on bringing up the changes at the next city council meeting in a couple of weeks.

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