Larry Duke, V.A.W. assure customers water is fine

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I would like to reassure everybody that we have acted in the best interests of our customers and patrons, to give them the best service and water. That’s what we’ve always done, and that’s what we will continue to do, well, forever.”
Larry Duke, V.A.W.

 

VINEMONT – On the heels of last month’s EPA health advisory, Larry Duke, chairman of the board at V.A.W. (Vinemont Anon West Point) Water Systems, is quick to assure customers and speculators that his water is fine.

“There is a big difference between contaminated or out-of-date with standards, and just receiving an advisory,” Duke said. “Our water is still in compliance with all the EPA’s standards, although they might not be exactly ideal.”

The Alabama Department of Public Health announced last month that it is working with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and federal agencies to determine any potential hazards related to perfluorinated compounds in drinking water in eight north Alabama water systems, including V.A.W.

On May 19, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final health advisory for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooactanoic acid (PFOA). These compounds are man-made chemicals that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water. They are found in products such as nonstick cookware, carpet protection products, firefighting foams and waterproof clothing.

PFOS and PFOA in drinking water are usually from facilities that manufacture these compounds and industries that used them in their manufacturing processes.

However, Duke says that those contaminants are not particularly the V.A.W.’s fault.

“We get out water from the Tennessee River,” Duke said. “The problem is that the 3M Corporation has been dumping their waste in that river, causing bad water.”

Even though these actions are out of Duke’s control, he and the V.A.W. took serious measures to ensure that not even advisories can be leveled against the V.A.W., thanks to new filtration systems.

“I just got off the phone with someone at the water treatment facility in Decatur,” Duke said. “He will be installing new carbon filtration systems that will improve the quality of our water. The carbon filters will cost $4 million and will take about 3-4 months to install.”

In regards to the prices that could raise, Duke says that is a possibility in the future, but not something they are considering doing at the moment.

“We will be maintaining the same price at the current time. However,” Duke said, “those carbon filters will cost $4 million, and, you know, someone has got to pay for it.”

And regarding the water that received an advisory from the EPA and ADEM, Duke says that water is long gone. All V.A.W. customers were switched over exclusively to water provided by the City of Cullman effective May 21.

“As soon as we knew about the advisory we switched people’s water to an alternate source. We are currently buying the water from the City of Cullman until the new filters are installed. So any water that was under that advisory was out of people’s tanks in 24 hours or less,” he said.

“I would like to reassure everybody that we have acted in the best interests of our customers and patrons, to give them the best service and water. That’s what we’ve always done, and that’s what we will continue to do, well, forever,” he said.

Background: http://www.cullmansense.com/articles/2016/05/21/health-department-responds-epa-health-advisory-impacting-north-alabama-water

EPA Advisory: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/drinking-water-health-advisories-pfoa-and-pfos

 

Yesterday, another of the eight affected water systems in North Alabama, the West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority, warned its users not to drink their water. That is a developing story.