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Arsenic Facts
Overview
Arsenic occurs at levels of concern in drinking water in areas of the plains, mountains, and desert states. In many cases, ground water is the sole source of drinking water for rural Nevada. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has research, education, information, and resources critical for making informed decisions concerning arsenic in drinking water.

Arsenic Facts
  • Although costly, some existing removal technologies include ion exchange, coagulation filtration (fallon), activated alumina, and lime softening / soda ash. The removal process to be used in Fernley's water treatment plant is coagulation microfiltration.
  • Arsenic enters water supplies from natural deposits in the earth’s crust and / or human activities.
  • Excess arsenic consumption promotes cardiovascular and nervous system malfunctions, eventually resulting in death.
  • Long-term exposure in drinking water, in excess of 10 micrograms per liter, causes increased risk of skin, lung, bladder, and kidney cancer, as well as skin related problems such as hyperkeratosis and pigment mutations.
  • Organic arsenic compounds are less toxic than inorganic arsenic compounds.
  • Sensitivity to arsenic's toxic effects, including carcinogenic effects, varies with each individual, and factors such as nutrition and genetic predisposition influence these effects.

New Regulations
On January 23, 2006, a new arsenic drinking water maximum contamination level of 10 micrograms per liter, became the standard for water systems throughout the United States. The lowering of the previous 50 micrograms per liter maximum contamination level, by the EPA, was in response to a study conducted by the National Research Council in 1999. This study suggested the previous limit was not sufficient in minimizing potential health risks.

Regulatory Implications
Facing violations and fines from the EPA, municipalities and public water suppliers are working to upgrade their existing facilities with new technologies, new treatments, and / or alternative methods. The City of Fernley has been granted an extension to meet the EPA deadline by the State of Nevada. The new deadline date is July 23, 2009.

The goal of the City of Fernley is to protect and improve the quality of our water resources and water system by facilitating development, delivery, and implementation of new and existing practices to our water customers.

The City continues its efforts on all fronts to strengthen its ability to provide water at the highest quality practicable to its customers. The City thanks all residents in advance for their patience during the construction period of our water treatment facility.

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