| Times Telegram
Water samples taken from homes and buildings in the village of Herkimer showed elevated lead and copper levels for the third consecutive sampling period.
Village water customers are advised to continue to let their tap run for at least 30 seconds or until the water temperature goes from room temperature to cold to avoid drinking water that has been sitting in the pipes overnight or for several hours.
The latest test results, taken during the period from June to December 2020, were much the same as those taken during the previous two sampling periods in the latter part of 2019 and the first half of 2020, according to Scott Blais, village water and sewer superintendent.
“It’s all status quo,” he said Monday. “We’ve been taking samples from the same 40 houses.”
The water department does not have to keep taking water samples at this point, but it is required to take steps to correct the problem and the process toward finding a solution is already underway, said Blais.
The village has retained Corona Environmental Consulting, a Colorado firm that specializes in water issues, to look at the problem, analyze data and recommend a solution.
“We’re compiling information for them,” Blais said.
Once the firm has the information, the consultants will go to work to find a solution. That solution could be to add something to the water or take other steps that will bring the village’s water supply back into compliance with standards set in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule.
The village plans to apply for a Community Development Block Grant to fund a multi-year project to improve the village’s water distribution system, according to Mayor Mark Netti.
Blais has said improvements to the water infrastructure could include replacing hydrants and valves as well as some water mains. Any lead services encountered also would be replaced.
Effects of lead
Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children, although the primary source of lead exposure for most children is lead-based paint.
Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure also can be affected by low levels of lead.
Parents who are concerned their children might have been exposed can ask their health care providers about testing their children for high levels of lead in the blood. Customers also can replace plumbing fixtures that are found to have lead.
The village of Herkimer is one of five municipalities set to be served by the Eastern Mohawk Valley Regional Water Main that will carry water from the Mohawk Valley Water Authority down Route 5. The village’s water currently comes from its watershed in Gravesville and from village wells, which serve as a secondary water source. The approximately 20-mile line from Gravesville is nearly a century old.
To reduce the risk of exposure to lead:
Run water for at least 30 seconds to flush out lead if the tap has not been used for…