Contaminants in Bloomington drinking water rising, city official says

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Oct. 12, 2015) -- If a plan to study Monroe County's drinking water is approved, officials say they'll find a way to cut down on rising levels of contaminants.

Bloomington Director of Utilities Patrick Murphy, who oversees the drinking water for all of Monroe County, said the contaminants in the tap water are not at a dangerous level yet, but that they are rising year-over-year.

"They're creeping up and we're concerned about that," Murphy said.

The county gets its drinking water from Lake Monroe, which is full of all kinds of things, so it disinfects it before it goes into homes. The disinfectants create by-products that are normal in small doses, but the Environmental Protection Agency has set limits at which it is believed the contaminants could increase the risk of cancer.

Murphy said the levels of contaminants are getting closer to that EPA limit, so the city needs to focus on finding new procedures that cut down on them.

"We clearly are concerned," Murphy said.

He's hoping to get approval to spend $100,000 on an engineering study that would look into the causes of rising contaminants and find ways to stop it. That study, which Murphy believes will be approved in November, would take about a year to complete.

In the meantime, Murphy said the drinking water is perfectly safe for residents. His team is also implementing short-term solutions to keep the contaminant levels down.

"This is my priority and this is what we’re going to get done," Murphy said.

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