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Annual report: city's drinking water is safe

The City of Prineville's water is safe, according to water samples taken for the city's annual drinking water report in 2003.
   "It can't get much better than that. There are no violations, but even the minute ones you are supposed to report in that report. Most of the ones reported are in the parts per billion," explained Eric Sather, Prineville water superintendent.
   There were 10 contaminants detected in the city's water supply, and all 10 fall below Environmental Protection Agency's maximum contaminant levels.
   "(The contaminants) are all at least half of what the maximum contaminant level is that we have to start treating for," Sather stated.
   Every three years, city officials test for approximately 105 contaminants.
   The nine inorganic contaminants detected were arsenic, barium, beryllium, chromium, copper, fluoride, lead, nitrate, and selenium.
   Gross alpha was the single radioactive contaminant detected.
   Samples were taken from the city's eight wells, and the highest level of contamination is what residents will see on the report. An underground aquifer feeds the city's wells with water.
   The city takes about 30 bottles of water from the city's wells. The amount that appears on the mailed notification is a conglomerate from the highest well.
   "There are a lot of big names that are not on that list because we don't have them," he said.
   Sather described the city water as medium to hard water.
   He believes that the city has done a good job protecting the city's water supplies.
   "We don't have many gas stations around where our wells are... We're doing pretty good," Sather said.
   Sather commended Prineville businesses for properly handling chemicals that may contaminate wells.
   He also mentioned that the city has a solid aquifer with no cracks for contaminants to invade the clean water.
   Residents also play a part in keeping the water safe.
   "We are just lucky we don't have many polluting industries and farmers been good by not putting too many nitrates and pesticides on their land," he explained.
   "People should just be aware and not pour (chemicals) in their lawns that can seep down into the aquifer. It only takes a little to contaminate, but it takes a lot to get it out," he said.
   Information about the contaminants and possible health effects is available by calling EPA's Safe Drinking Water hotline at 1-800-426-4791.