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JEA responds to bad water ranking

JEA responds to water quality report

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Updated: 5/10/2013 1:24 am

Jacksonville, FL (May 9, 2013) - An unregulated environmental organization released a report questioning JEA's water quality. This is the same report that the organization released in 2009 and 2011. The report has not been updated since its initial release in 2009. JEA's drinking water is safe. It is tested regularly and it complies with all state and federal regulations.

The report's ranking was largely based on the total number of samples that tested positive for a chemical - i.e. even a slight detection of a chemical was counted - and was not based on the percentage of positive detections. For example, a utility could have had 10 samples reviewed, with 5 detections (50%), but would not have been considered to have poor water quality because of the low number of positive detections of chemicals.

The average utility in the study had 420 samples reviewed, with 8 detections (1.9%),while JEA had 6,946 samples reviewed with 23 detections (0.3%). Averaging the number of exceedances and pollutants per test (ratio), JEA ranks much better than the average.

Here are some additional facts about JEA's water quality:

· JEA conducts a comprehensive monitoring program by collecting and analyzing water samples from various locations throughout our treatment area. This program is regulated by the state.

· These samples are tested for over 100 bacteriological and chemical components. In a typical year, JEA collects and tests more than 25,000 water samples.

· JEA's water source is the Floridan aquifer, located 800 to 1,000 feet below land surface, and highly protected from chemical contamination by a thick layer of clay that prevents chemicals from entering the aquifer. The water is clean and fresh, and requires minimal treatment

· Most of the contaminants present in our drinking water occur naturally in the aquifer at very low levels. Lead and copper found in drinking water occur from contact with household plumbing fixtures.

· Per federal and state regulations, drinking water utilities must maintain an adequate chlorine residual to ensure the water is free of pathogens.

JEA provides an annual Water Quality Report to all of our customers in June each year and this publication presents the results of our water quality testing. To view the Water Quality Report online, visit jea.com>About Us>Tariffs and Reports>2012 Water Quality Report.  Customers can also call 665-6000.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Joan Stringfellow has lived in Jacksonville nearly 30 years. She uses large amounts of water each day, and has a strong opinion about it.

"Some mornings I get up and take my morning dose of medication and there's a strong chlorine taste," she said.

The website 24/7 Wall Street claims there's more in it than that. According to its study, 23 toxic chemicals were found in Jacksonville's water supply.

Arsenic and lead were some of the agents listed. 

"I certainly am concerned about it. I've seen JEA's reports and I've always relied on them to be accurate," Stringfellow said.

JEA representatives say the study is unvalidated and wrong.

"I want to ensure to all our customers that the water is safe," spokeswoman Gerri Boyce said.

JEA's water source is the Floridan Aquifer. Because it's a natural resource, it does contain some occuring minerals -- which according to the company, are all within required EPA regulations.

Stringfellow says she hopes so and prays the accusations die down.

"You want to know and especially, I think, young mothers would be extremely concerned about it."

JEA says if there's ever a question about your water or you want them to check things out, give them a call.

To read the full study, click here.
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