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Frustration, Concern about Milford Water [POLL]

About 100 Milford residents attended a grassroots-organized information session on Milford water Thursday, which featured public officials, as well as a water expert, who discussed the state of drinking water in town.

The notice from the , which, among other things, advised customers to open their windows to ventilate their bathrooms when using the shower to avoid airborne exposure to a water contaminant, was the tipping point.

Vasile, a nurse-practitioner, was among the residents who organized a citizens' meeting on water concerns Thursday. The idea, she said, was sparked when she and her friends realized many other town residents were throwing away these notices, or not getting them at all.

The notices only go to the Water Company customers. If tenants don't pay the water bill, they won't get the notices.

The information meeting on water issues organized by Vasile and Colleen Annantuonio, among others, drew about 100 people to the Milford Youth Center.

The idea wasn't to scare people, but to make sure they are aware that the , and has had them for almost a year, Vasile said. And while the Water Company has notified its customers, she noted, the letters always come "after the fact."

The contaminant — Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) — is produced when drinking water is disinfected. TTHMs form when disinfectants, such as chlorine, combine with leaves and other organic materials that are found in surface waters. Milford water has allowed for a year, based on Water Company records.

The information session included comments from Bill Buckley, a Milford Selectman who addressed issues relating to town oversight of the private utility company, as well as David Condrey, the general manager of the Water Company. Richard Arikian, president of SteadyPure, a water filtration company, provided an analysis of Milford Water Company water.

Although it is a private company, the Milford Water Company is regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees public drinking water. The state DEP was invited to the meeting, but did not send a representative.

In questions, one of the first was directed at Buckley, by a resident who asked whether the town was moving in a direction to take over the private utility company. Buckley said the town could pursue a purchase of the company — using an eminent domain-type process — through a state statute. The process would have to include a committee that could investigate the feasibility of a purchase.

"It's a lengthy process," Buckley said. "But it's not one I'm against."

Milford resident Joel Kahn said acquisition of the Water Company, "would achieve true transparency with that company, which we currently do not have."

Condrey responded to concerns, expressed by another resident, that there is no "Plan C" to remove the TTHMs if the "Plan B" — — doesn't work. Condrey said the first of two carbon filters, which will remove the natural materials that contribute to TTHMs, will be installed by late October.

By 2013, the Water Company plans to have a new treatment facility operating.

The "Plan C," Condrey explained, is to introduce another treatment chemical, which he identified as chloromines. The company, however, is trying not to change the chemicals dramatically. "It's a change in chemicals. We're trying not to change any more chemicals."

Arikian, who owns a water filtration company, reviewed the Milford water reports and analyzed the results. He also addressed whether filters mounted on faucets or shower heads could remove the contaminant.

The faucet-mounted filters, such as Brita, he said, can remove some contaminants, including TTHMs, depending on what the product label says. But showerhead filters cannot remove them. TTHMs can be absorbed through the skin, as well as inhaled, through steam, he said.

"There is no shower filter made in the United States that takes out TTHMs," Arikian said.

Jennifer September 30, 2011 at 03:18 PM
https://www.facebook.com/StandUptoMilfordWaterCompany
Mary MacDonald (Editor) September 30, 2011 at 04:15 PM
I know it's unofficial, but the poll numbers are pretty revealing here.
Robb September 30, 2011 at 04:53 PM
For anyone who wants to know some definitive health risk info, check out this report from the NH DEP (equivalent). its enlightening, and does a bit to allay some fears. TTHMs turn out to be a type2 class carcinogen, which means they aren't definitively known to cause cancer, but may be a contributor, if exposure rises to levels (over both time and concentration) that first induce toxic effects. the water company still needs to fix the problem, but the situation isn't quite so dire. http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/factsheets/ard/documents/ard-ehp-13.pdf
Concerned Parent September 30, 2011 at 11:57 PM
I find it ironic that the Milford Water Company has the right to issue water bans for months on end (with or without drought), ban irrigation systems in and throughout the town of Milford, and raise water rates because as a private utility they neglected to reinvest in the maintenance of their water treatment facility and pipes throughtout the town of Milford for the last 25 years; however, as a Milford resident I do not have the right to demand safe water for drinking, cooking, or bathing with. Really???
Jennifer October 01, 2011 at 11:41 AM
@Robb-You are aware that part of the reason it is listed only as a Cat 2 carcinogen is because no one can ethically test for its true short or long term effects in humans, right? that means they DON'T actually know what it causes, when it causes it, what truly harmful exposures are etc...all they know is that it does cause it "at some point". That doesn't make me feel any better, and it doesn't mean it's any less dire than people feel it is-especially for children and pregnant woman who shouldn't be exposed to chemicals at levels such as ours have been for the last year.
Cappuccino October 01, 2011 at 03:06 PM
1. Is there any in-home filter proven to removeTTHMs? 2. I have an autoimmune disorder. Last year prior to revelation of bacterial contamination, I got very ill. The MWC denied that my area of town was affected. I wonder if the test tolerance for such bacterial contamination is too lenient for a percent of the population with autoimmune disorders. This is also a concern for the TTHMs. Most medical people are not very informed on this issue. Any researchers out there?
Cappuccino October 01, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Another question: Bottled water exposed to very high or below freezing temperatures has been reported to interact with the plastic vessel to form carcinogens. It is my belief that these product most probably are exposed to temperature extremes while being transported to market. There is no control, in that regard that, I could find from government regulations. So theoretically, bottled water has the great potential of being carcinogenic if the vessel is not glass. There are some suppliers of bottled water in glass bottles, but they are very costly. I have often heard that bottled water filters out many essential minerals. If we go that route, mineral supplements should be considered.
bob nargi October 02, 2011 at 10:56 AM
We just cant win, Shirley.. I just might take up drinkin' beer... but doubt I would shower in it....(little levity in a very serious discussion?) Been using bottled water here for a while but not for cooking or even coffee but NOW we are..
Jim Rizoli October 02, 2011 at 06:04 PM
Jim Rizoli CCFIILE.COM So you think bottled water is any better...LOL If so I have a bridge to sell you. I'll tell you what, I will sell you the water that comes out of my sink for half the money and I will be rich after about a year. So we all win especially me.
Colleen October 02, 2011 at 10:33 PM
Shirley... atfer concern over this issue I had a home filtration system installed. My TTHM levels were 110.8 ppbillion prior to system and now with the system my levels are 8pp billion, Unfortunately it came at a huge cost to me. However I feel it is necessary given I do not see an immediate fix to the problem that we have here in town. Something definitely needs to be done for the town sooner than the Oct 2013 plant.
Jim Rizoli October 02, 2011 at 10:38 PM
Jim Rizoli CCFIILE.COM Time to buy stock in that company that sells those water filters.
Julie October 03, 2011 at 12:16 PM
I know bottled water may not be the greatest health wise but at least it doesn't smell funny like the water that comes out of my tap. Can I get a discount on my water bill since I can't drink it?
MilfordMomof3 October 03, 2011 at 01:38 PM
I really do think we should get a break on the water rate until this problem is resolved. Why are we being charged so much for water that can actually cause us harm? I have had so many problems with our water and the water company just denies anything is wrong with it anytime we call. Black water, sure drink it just don't do laundry they told me. I would like to see them come drink it. Smells like a pond and is yellow, it is fine to use they said. I think it's time we all figure out a way to get the state involved since the town obviously can't fix this soon enough.

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