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Amherst water showing above normal levels of disinfectant byproducts, still safe to drink

Town of Amherst water test results show 2nd quarter of slightly higher than normal level of disinfection byproducts (Photo: Valencia Jones)

AMHERST, Va. (WSET) -- The second quarter water testing results are in for the Town of Amherst.

The first quarter water testing in Amherst showed a slightly above normal level of disinfectant byproducts, specifically haloacetic acid.

The second quarter results show the level has once again increased.

"It's a little concerning, because it has a different taste and stuff. You can taste the difference in it, so the water in the public places I don't drink no more," said Lynwood Dawson, a local resident.

Officials say there's still no cause for concern, Dawson says he's playing it safe.

"I'd rather drink the bottled water and my Budweiser," he said.

Others are confident there's nothing to worry about.

"They know more better than I do, unless there's a good risk, that's fine, and I don't think people should kick against it. I think it's fine to do it. Go ahead and use it," said Jean Jones, another Amherst resident.

The standard level of haloacetic acid is 0.060 miligrams per liter and officials say this amount compares to a drop of water falling into an Olympic-sized pool.

"Our results this go-round was a 0.064," said Gary Williams, Director of Utility Plants, Town of Amherst.

That amount is a slight increase from last quarter due to a number of factors, like excess rain and higher temperatures.

Officials say it would take two gallons of water every day for 70 years to pose any cancer risk.

But Williams said steps are being taken to normalize the level.

"We are working at our water plant to keep our basins cleaner so that the settled solids that we pull up aren't in contact with the chlorine that we're disinfecting with," Williams said.

As for now, he says the water is safe to drink.

The Virginia Department of Health is in the process of providing a notice to distribute to residents.

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