JEA Responds to Water Quality Rankings

2009-12-15

Jacksonville, FL – An organization called the Environmental Working Group compiled data supplied by the majority of states and the District of Columbia to assess and rank water quality throughout the country, ranking Jacksonville poorly. What the report does not clarify is the methodology used to determine the rankings.

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. It 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.

Additional, important 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 more than 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
  • The water from the aquifer is simply pumped from the wells, aerated to remove sulfur compounds, chlorinated for disinfection, and distributed to our customers.
  • 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 mails an annual Water Quality Report to all of our water customers in June each year and this publication presents the results of our water quality testing. This report documents that, while some contaminants have been detected in very small amounts, no contaminants have exceeded federal water quality standards. Manmade synthetic chemicals are not present in our drinking water supply. View the Water Quality Report online.  

JEA also maintains a Water Quality Hotline at 904-665-4560 and email at waterquality@jea.com where customers can inquire about water quality or report a water quality problem.

JEA is the eighth largest community owned electric utility in the United States, providing electric, water and sewer service to more than 875,000 accounts in northeast Florida.

Category:

  • conservation
  • customer
  • environment
  • water

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