Small water system contamination concerns vary with size

A small drinking water system's exposure to contamination sources - and the characteristics of those contamination sources - may vary with the size of the small system, a report concluded.

Oct 27th, 2003

Oct. 27, 2003 -- A small drinking water system's exposure to contamination sources - and the characteristics of those contamination sources - may vary with the size of the small system, a report concluded.

The two largest small systems demographics measured - 501 to 1,000 connections and 1,001+ connections, were most likely to have a water source located near a bona fide contamination threat, According to the 2003 Water Technology Small Systems Benchmarking Report.

Of respondents operating small water systems with 501 to 1,000 connections, 60 percent indicated their water source was located within 10 miles of a possible source of contamination, with the overwhelming majority of those respondents (75 percent) claiming the contamination threat was two miles or less from the water source.

What's threatening small systems with 501 to 1,000 connections? According to respondents, their main concerns are E.Coli, arsenic and MTBE contamination.

Similar results were also found with small systems with 1,001 or more connections, where 55 percent of respondents indicated their water source was located within 10 miles of a possible source of contamination. Of that group, more than half reported being within two miles of a possible source of contamination.

The report showed that small systems with more than 1,0001 connections were more concerned about microbiological contamination than any other demographic in the survey, listing E.Coli, Cryptosporidium and Giardia lambia as top contamination concerns.

Statistically speaking, respondents operating systems with 0 to 500 connections were least likely to be located within 10 miles of a source of contamination (48.5 percent). However, of that group, more than eight in 10 said the contamination threat was less than two miles from the water source.

According to the report, arsenic and urban runoff were the top contamination concerns facing small systems respondents in the 0 to 500 connection demographic.

Source: Harmsco Filtration Products, www.harmsco.com


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