City of Ithaca News

Posted on: September 25, 2017

Important Information About Your Drinking Water


The City of Ithaca had levels of CHLORITE above the Drinking Water Standards (MCL).

Our water system, on 9-3-17, violated the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for chlorite.  Although the condition no longer exists, this notice is to inform you of what happened, what you should do, and what we are doing concerning this issue.

The chlorine dioxide feed system was just started up late in August of this year.  It is used as a pre-disinfectant to help with disinfection byproduct levels, taste and odor control, and for helping iron and manganese levels in the source water.  One of the daily tests to the potable water system that is required is chlorite.  The MCL for chlorite is 1.0 milligrams per liter (mg/l).  On September 3rd (Sunday) testing showed results of 1.1 mg/l during the day shift and a level of 1.03 mg/l in the early afternoon.  Adjustments were made to the system each time and later in the evening (approximately at 6:40 pm) the level was 0.75 mg/l.  Our required follow up testing the next day out in the distribution system had levels all below 1.0 mg/l.  (The highest was 0.46 mg/l).  We are experiencing some start up issues with the system and are continuing to work them out.  These issues are related to the feed pumps and priming issues along with maintaining a specific dosage and concentration strength.

You are not required to do anything due to this event.  This is not an emergency.  If it had been you would have seen notification immediately.   However, we are required to inform you of the EPA health effects mandated language concerning chlorite.  It is as follows:

Some infants and young children who drink water containing chlorite in excess of the MCL could experience nervous system effects.  Similar effects may occur in fetuses of pregnant women who drink water containing chlorite in excess of the MCL.  Some people may experience anemia. 

For more information please contact:  Charles Baker (Chief Operator – Water Treatment Plant) at 273-4680:  Tompkins County Health Dept. at 274-6688: or visit the EPA website;

Please share this information with all people who drink our water, especially those who may not have seen or heard of this notice. You can do this by asking if you can post the notice in a public place or space.  Landlords please post of distribute this notice for your tenants.  This notice will be posted on the City of Ithaca website ( and located under Government/Public Works/Water & Sewer/Water Treatment & Distribution/Violation Notice-Chlorite09032017.

                                                                                                                                       Chuck Baker, City of Ithaca,
                                                                                                                                       Chief Water Plant Operator

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