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Follow Up to Community Meeting - No detection of GenX

July 28, 2017

Over the last several weeks, Mount Pleasant Waterworks (MPW) along with Charleston Water System and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) have been working with customers to address concerns of pesticides in drinking water. These concerns came after five customers contacted Mount Pleasant Waterworks saying home water testing kits produced, what they interpreted to be, positive results for pesticides in their water.

Home testing kits are not approved methods by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nor DHEC. In short, they are known to produce inaccurate results.

MPW assured customers that historical sampling data provided no evidence for concern relative to pesticides. However, since these concerns spread on social media and were being reported by several media outlets, MPW worked diligently to reassure their customers. MPW collected samples from the homes of the five customers who had contact them as well as other homes throughout the distribution system. Charleston Water System (CWS) and SCDHEC also conducted additional sampling.

Samples collected by MPW, CWS, and SCDHEC were analyzed by Eurofins, a third-party laboratory approved by the EPA. As expected, all tests produced results that showed no detection of pesticides or herbicides. This information was made available to MPW’s customer base and all media outlets on July 21, 2017.

At a Community Meeting hosted by MPW on Monday, July 24th, staff was presented with a one page laboratory report for water samples collected by a resident in Dunes West. This resident and the media reported his July 17th laboratory report showed positive results for the compound GenX.

Although this had been shared by the news and on social media, this was the first time MPW had seen this information. Following the meeting on July 24th, MPW reached out to the customer to obtain a copy of the full laboratory report produced by GEL laboratory. Upon review of the quality control report and after speaking with representatives from GEL Lab, it has been confirmed that the GenX result reported is not valid. The bottom line is, it was misleading and irresponsible to report this as accurate data.

MPW has reached out to this customer in an effort to further explain the information he was provided, to date there has been no response.

In the meantime, MPW sampled three points in their distribution system for GenX and other compounds. Results concluded that there was no detection of GenX. All other compounds detected were similar in concentrations found by the customer, but were well below the current health advisory level.

MPW’s job is to always provide clean safe water to all customers and to understand complex water chemistry. MPW’s employees are certified water professionals. When there are concerns about water, customers should contact the water professionals that are working for them and with them.    

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