High THM levels in Geneseo water

The Town of Geneseo’s water operators are working to coordinate flushing between the town, the village and the Town of York due to high residual chemicals found in the water the village provides to the town.

“We’ve been flushing our system in coordination with the village to get fresh water into our system,” said Larry Levey, highway and water superintendent for the Town of Geneseo. “What we’ve discovered is the … [Trihalomethanes] are coming from the village tank.”

The village tank, located on Reservoir Road, provides water to the town, while water for the village, which is contained within the town, is pumped straight from nearby Conesus Lake. According to Levey, because the tank has only one opening where water is pumped both in and out, the water is not consistently circulating; thus, the water becomes stagnant.

In the tank, the reaction between chlorine and organic materials creates THMs, and because the water does not circulate continuously, there are higher concentrations of chemicals in the town’s drinking water. The village’s drinking water has not been affected.

According to a public health notice issued by the Town of Geneseo, while the levels of THMs in the water from the village tank do not meet the standards put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency, the water is currently safe to drink. THMs are a potential byproduct when chlorine is used to disinfect drinking water. They can be potentially carcinogenic.

Levey said that there have been high levels of THMs in the town’s water since 2004, and his department has been working to resolve the issue for the past year.

Although the coordinated flushing has provided a short-term solution to this problem, he said the process is wasting water, and his department is looking for a more permanent solution. A potential long-term solution would involve installing a sole inlet and a sole outlet on the tank so that water is continually turned over.

“I do believe that what we’re doing is the right thing now that we’ve discovered what the cause is and we’re addressing the problem instead of just letting it go,” said Levey. “I’m confident we’re going to get to the bottom of it and make it work.”

According to the public health notice, questions may be directed to the Town of Geneseo Water Department at 585-243-1544 or to the Livingston County Department of Health at 585-243-7280.