Town of Friday Harbor
San Juan Island

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60 Second Street
PO Box 219






Important Announcement about Friday Harbor Drinking Water

June 27, 2005

Dear Town of Friday Harbor Water User:

Earlier this year you were informed that the Town’s drinking water was unable to fully comply with recent State mandated changes to the drinking water quality standards. We continue to believe that our water is safe for most people to use, but you do have a right to know what has happened, what you should do, and what the Town is doing to correct the situation.

The problem we were experiencing results from using chlorine as a disinfectant for our water. Unfortunately, when chlorine has long-term contact with any organic material, such as leaf foliage, which is present in the Trout Lake reservoir, it produces a byproduct called trihalomethanes (THM).

We regularly check our water for the presence of all types of contaminants. Last year, the acceptable level for THM’s were lowered by the State, and we found we could not meet this new standard. In particular, the 12-month average level of trihalomethanes (THM) found in the Town’s water was 82.7 micrograms/liter, while the new acceptable level is now 80.0 (down from 100 ug/L). Recent test results have shown an improvement and our current 12-month average level of THM’s is 80.0 ug/L (just at the new threshold).

This is not an immediate risk to your health. If it had been, we would have notified you immediately. However, some people who drink water over a long period that exceeds the acceptable level of triahalomethanes could experience problems with their liver, kidneys or central nervous system, or may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

We are encouraged by the results of our use of powdered activated carbon in the treatment process. However, we wish to lower the THM levels further. To that end we are instigating a water treatment plant ozone disinfection study this summer in an effort to find the most efficient and cost effective way of providing water to our users that will be safe for everyone to use. We will continue to explore different treatment options until we provide water that meets all State and Federal standards and is healthier for everyone to drink.

We will continue to keep you informed of our progress.


Gary Boothman, Mayor         C. King Fitch, Town Administrator

Disinfection Byproduct Levels Above Drinking Water Standards
Friday Harbor Water System (ID #26595)
San Juan County




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