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Yes. The City of Abilene Environmental Laboratory performs biweekly analyses of samples taken from the water treatment plants and the distribution system. Approximately 40 substances or parameters are measured to assure the quality of the drinking water in the system. Area lakes are sampled monthly with approximately 20 substances measured. The water treatment plants also do continuous testing of the water as it is being treated.
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Typically the cause is water staying in the water heater too long. This causes the water to turn stagnant. Single-handle type water faucets are typically being used in these situations and are not being fully turned to the cold position. This can occur when a water heater is too large for the amount of hot water typically used. It can also occur when the dip tube (cold water inlet) in the water heater deteriorates.
Flushing out the water heater will provide an immediate temporary solution. Long-term solutions for low usage are to decrease the size of the water heater, or to use more hot water. If the dip tube has deteriorated, it must be replaced.
Hardness refers to the calcium and magnesium carbonate content. Water hardness in the City of Abilene varies depending on the water source being used. Currently the hardness averages about 240 milligrams per liter calcium carbonate. This equates to about 14 grains per gallon.
In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission set forth regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in drinking water. Our water is below all state and federal primary drinking water maximum contaminant levels (MCL). In addition to being less than federal or state MCLs, the majority of listed contaminants are not detected at all.
Regulations require routine monitoring for approximately 75 chemical or radiological substances. Our water is routinely tested for over 170 substances. In addition, regulations require routine monitoring for bacteria in the distribution system.
Frequency of testing is set forth in the drinking water regulations. Bacterial testing is performed on a daily basis. Chemical testing is performed on a quarterly to annual basis. Radiological testing is performed every four years.
Bacteria testing is performed by the City of Abilene Health Department Laboratory. The Texas Department of Health Laboratory performs all required chemical and radiological tests.
The citizens of the City of Abilene approved by referendum to add fluoride to its drinking water supply. Fluoride is a water additive that promotes strong teeth, especially in growing children. The American Dental Association recommends a concentration of 0.7 parts per million (PPM). The City of Abilene's public water supply maintains a fluoride level of about 0.7 PPM.
The City of Abilene uses chlorine dioxide, free chlorine, and chloramines to disinfect our drinking water. The City of Abilene public water supply utilizes water treatment processes including disinfection to meet or exceed all applicable federal and state regulations for public health and safety.
The City of Abilene Water Department sponsors a variety of free educational programs. Educators are encouraged to take advantage of these quality programs. For program information, call 325-676-6041 and ask for the Laboratory Manager.
The Water Department also offers tours of its water treatment plants and the wastewater treatment plant. Please call Water Administration at 325-676-6419 for more information and scheduling.