Uncertified Field Tests Showing Acceptable Fluoride Levels in Franklin Water

| February 19, 2018

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – Uncertified field tests this morning showed fluoride levels in Franklin city water returning to acceptable levels.

Franklin City Manager Tracy Jamieson told exploreVenango.com that this morning’s uncertified field sample results were all below the target level of .9 mg/L. She stressed that these results are only field tests, and although, the city is still waiting on the certified lab results from the Department of Environmental Protection, it seems like the worst is over for the City of Franklin.

“I really think the immediate crisis is over,” Jamieson said, “But, we will continue to provide bottled water to those who don’t feel comfortable drinking the city water until the DEP gives us the official all clear.”

Bottled water continues to be available at the Franklin Fire Department from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. Anyone unable to get to the fire department can request delivery by calling City Hall at 814-437-1485 or 814-437-1463, on weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or the Franklin Police Department at 814-437-1644, after 4:30 p.m.

Jamieson is hoping to hear from the Department of Environmental Protection regarding the certified lab test results from February 15 and 16 sometime tomorrow.

FIELD TESTS VERSUS LAB TESTS

Jamieson also spoke to exploreVenango.com recently about how the city and the DEP measure the fluoride levels, and the difference between field tests and certified lab tests.

Jamieson said that the pieces of equipment being used by both the city and the DEP to do field tests of the fluoride levels in the water are spectrometers.

Spectrometers are a preferred technology for on the spot water quality testing because they have the ability to detect very low levels of a wide variety of chemical compounds, from fluoride to pesticide to pharmaceuticals. However, since they are designed to detect even the smallest amounts of such substances, they also aren’t designed measure over a certain point.

“The spectrometers used by the city only show up to 2.0 mg/L when measuring for fluoride. Anything above that is simply displayed as elevated,” Jamieson explained.

The certified lab tests, from the samples that have been sent away for testing, show more precise data on the higher levels. Certified labs must use EPA approved methods and be certified by the EPA or the state to analyze drinking water samples. Certified tests are considered more accurate and reliable.

DETAILS RELEASED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

DEP Field Orders issued to the City of Franklin and the General Authority of the City of Franklin – Public Water System late last week give more specific data about the amount of fluoride released, as well as some of the initial contamination levels.

According to the “Description of Violation” in the Field Orders, “an overfeed of the chemical providing fluoride, which resulted in about 400 gallons of chemical entering the distribution system. The overfeed of this chemical resulted in fluoride levels exceeding the Maximum Contaminant Level of 2 mg/L as evidenced in samples collected by the authority on February 8 mg/L. Further, samples collected by the Department on February 8, 2018, and analyzed by the Department’s laboratory which is accredited for the analysis of fluoride showed preliminary results in excess of the maximum contaminant level of 2 mg/L and at least one preliminary result in excess of the Center for Disease Control’s recommended “Do Not Consume” advisory level of 10.1 mg/L.”

On Friday afternoon, the DEP released an in-depth DEP Lab Analysis of water collected on February 8. The lab analysis shows initial fluoride levels ranging from 12.60 mg/L, fourteen times Franklin’s normal level, in the Save-A-Lot Restroom, to a barely above normal reading of 0.98 mg/L at a hydrant on Atlantic Avenue.

The DEP also released uncertified Field Grab Sample Results from February 12. These results show drastically reduced levels, though some places, including Giant Eagle, Kmart, and The Caring Place still had elevated readings.


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