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Saint George, Alaska achieves compliance under the Safe Drinking Water Act

Release Date: 02/15/2006
Contact Information: Contact: Eric Winiecki, (206) 553-6904, winiecki.eric@epa.gov Mark MacIntyre, (206) 553-7302, macintyre.mark@epa.gov

City of Saint George water system has corrected deficiencies

(Saint George, AK. – Feb. 14, 2006) The Saint George Drinking Water System which serves approximately 200 residents has returned to compliance under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The system was recently ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to correct deficiencies, complete required monitoring of the drinking water and notify its users of the violations. The system has since accomplished all of these actions. The community public water system is owned by the City of Saint George. Saint George is located on the northeast shore of Saint George Island, the southern-most of five islands in the Pribilofs.

"We are glad that the residents of Saint George can once again be assured their water is safe," said Marie Jennings, manager of the Drinking Water Program for EPA Region 10 in Seattle. "It's important that required monitoring be done properly and on schedule to make sure the water coming out of the taps in people's homes is safe for use."EPA Newsroom

According to EPA officials, the Saint George Water System had failed to correct deficiencies found during a 2004 sanitary survey (similar to an inspection). The deficiencies included not having an approved sample siting plan, and the need to decommission an inactive well. The system had also failed to test the water for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and inform its customers about the quality of their water. These deficiencies have all been corrected.

The system is a piped water system constructed by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) during the 1950's. Four wells provide water for the community, with 250,000 gallons of storage.

VOCs are generally a result of industrial practices, including machinery maintenance. Testing for these compounds is important because they can affect the liver, kidneys, nervous and circulatory systems. VOCs are also a known cancer risk.

A previous press release stated that the Saint George system was not in compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule, failed to monitor monthly for total coliform and that a sanitary survey had been performed by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. However, the Lead and Copper and total coliform violations had been corrected at the time of the press release, and the sanitary survey was conducted by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.


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