Water from Dublin Road plant should not be given to infants, pregnant women
By Rick RouanThe Columbus Dispatch • Tuesday June 9, 2015 5:33 AM
Franklin County residents who get their water from the Dublin Road water plant are under a nitrate advisory until further notice.
The city of Columbus issued the alert on Monday for people who live in portions of west, central and southwest Columbus, Grandview Heights, Grove City, Hilliard, Lincoln Village, Marble Cliff, the Ohio State University area, Upper Arlington, Urbancrest and Valleyview.
Pregnant women and infants younger than 6 months should not drink the water until the advisory is lifted. The water should not be used to mix with baby formula, juice or other drinks, according to the advisory.
The city is advising those residents to not boil the water. Boiling the water will increase nitrate levels by concentrating the chemical.
Bottled water will be available to pregnant women and infants from the affected areas from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. each day in the front loop of Columbus Public Health, 240 Parsons Ave., and in front of the former Macy’s at Westland Mall, 4141 W. Broad St., until the advisory expires.
Adults and older children can continue to drink tap water. Water also should be safe for pets, according to the advisory.
Tap water tested at the Dublin Road plant on Monday showed nitrate levels exceeding state standards. Nitrate levels increase when fertilizer and agricultural runoff get into the Scioto River watershed.
Remote monitors set up in the watershed showed elevated nitrate levels starting on Friday, and the city’s Department of Public Utilities has been testing it daily since then, said George Zonders, spokesman for the department. The daily testing will continue until nitrate levels dip to acceptable levels.
Public Utilities Director Greg Davies told Columbus City Councilmembers on Monday night that it typically takes about 10 to 14 days for that to happen, though more rainfall could dilute the water and lower nitrate levels faster.
Davies said a $200 million upgrade of the Dublin Road plant will include about $35 million for an ion-exchange facility that will help suppress nitrate levels. That should be completed in 2017.
This nitrate advisory is the city’s most recent since 2006 and its third since 2000.
“Agricultural pollution is a problem here in Columbus,” said Adam Rissien, director of agricultural and water policy at the Ohio Environmental Council. “It’s time we did something more about it.”