Selbyville Warns Community About Excess Chemicals in Water - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Selbyville Warns Community About Excess Chemicals in Water

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Selbyville sent out a letter to impacted neighbors about the high levels of TTHM (Source; WBOC) Selbyville sent out a letter to impacted neighbors about the high levels of TTHM (Source; WBOC)
This device was attached to a hydrant on South Main Street to flush out the chemicals (Source: WBOC) This device was attached to a hydrant on South Main Street to flush out the chemicals (Source: WBOC)

SELBYVILLE, Del. - Town leaders in Selbyville this week informed neighbors that there are excess chemicals in the town water, but also assured the community that there is no reason to panic about the situation. 

"Although this incident is not an emergency," the town wrote in a letter sent to neighbors. "As our customers, you have a right to know what happened and what we are doing to correct this situation."

The town told WBOC that the level of "trihalomethanes," better known as TTHM, was above the safe drinking water standard. The standard for this chemical is set at 80 parts per billion, but a recent evaluation by the Division of Public Health found that it was at 123.8 parts per billion, in the most recent check-up. 

To fix the problem, the town has started to "increase the length of time and the number of flushings" in the impacted area. Before the evaluation, the town was flushing out the system once a week for 15 minutes. Now the town has started doing so every day for an hour. 

On South Main Street, long-time resident Raymond Moore was concerned by the development. As an elderly man, with a sick wife, and a young grandchild, he said he would be changing his habits. 

"I will not be drinking the town water," he said. "I have bottled water in the house. That’s what I’ll be using for drinking.”

The town sent out the letter to approximately 1,400 people, according to Town Manager Michael Deal. He said that people can continue to drink their water, without fear, since you would have to drink large amounts of the water for long periods of time, to start feeling the impacts. 

"It's a chemical compound in the water," he said. "But it takes a large, copious amount of water to create a problem. And I don't think the average citizen drinks that much water. And it's years we're talking about. And it hasn't been years that the town has been having this problem. 

Despite these reassurances, Deal said that the town is advising those who are elderly, infants, pregnant, or who have a "severely compromised" immune system to speak to a doctor about drinking the water. 

If TTHM is consumed in excess over many years, it can create problems with the liver, kidneys, or the central nervous system, and it can increase the risk of getting cancer. 

According to the town, TTHM is described as a group of four "Volatile Organic Chemicals," often known as VOC's. These chemicals are created during the disinfection process. 

Aeration Tower: Long-Term Fix:

This announcement was made with just under 10 months remaining before a "long-term fix" is expected to be complete. Even before the chemicals were found, the town was in the process of constructing an "Aeration Tower," at a cost of approximately $2.7 million. 

The project, which is being paid for by state and federal funds, would drastically lower the contamination in the water supply from VOC's, like TTHM. 

"We're addressing this issue," said Deal. "And citizens of the town are always on top of our list of concerns. And we want to make it right and have good, clean water for them to drink."
 

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