In 2006, several area communities installed filtration systems to remove the chemical used by DuPont Washington Works from their drinking water supplies. But the Marietta-based newspaper the Anchor reports those systems aren't always working properly.
"DuPont has put the technology in place to make sure the C8 is filtered out of the water," says reporter Callie Lyons. "But the carbon filtration filter is simply not changed out often enough to ensure the filtration systems are doing their job."
The Anchor's report says small, and even increasing, amounts of C8 are still being detected in drinking supplies in the cities of Belpre, Tuppers Plains, and Pomeroy, as well as in Little Hocking, although that city reportedly changes its filters more than others.
But a Belpre official says its filters have been changed three times since august of 2010, most recently at the end of last year. and he says the c-8 levels are monitored by a contractor working for dupont.
"If sampling detects any C8 coming through the path of the lead filter, that triggers the carbon changeout," says Mike Betz, Public Works Supervisor, City of Belpre. "That gives us as much as a month. Once the contractor contracts Calgon to obtain a shipment of carbon, all of the water, meantime, is still being filtered by the second lag filter. That way, if C8 shows up in the first filter, it should never reach the consumer."
The lawsuit which led to these changes began in West Virginia. And Lyons believes residents there don't have to worry about their drinking water supplies.
"Lubeck does appear to be doing a pretty good job of changing the carbon filters," she says. "The basic problems I found were with these Ohio communities."
The Ohio EPA says it requires monthly reports of C8 levels, and disputes Lyons' report that the chemical is seeping through both of the filters Betz described. And it denies C8 is still being detected in public drinking water supplies.
DuPont Washington Works released this statement Monday afternoon:
"We regularly monitor the systems and share data with regulators and the water districts. We change carbon beds pursuant to permits with regulatory agencies. According to data we have reviewed, all systems are working as designed."