Pendleton officials tout healthy water supply

Apr. 18—PENDLETON — Officials overseeing the town's drinking water quality monitoring program point to data indicating its supply is cleaner than FDA requirements for bottled water to remind residents and businesses that no health concerns related to lead exist.

"The FDA doesn't allow more than five parts per billion" in bottled water, according to Town Manager Scott Reske. "Ours runs between two and three (parts per billion). Natural spring water, glacier water, it just naturally occurs at around five. We're half that."

Reske attributes the low numbers in part to the location of the town's primary supply aquifer and diligent efforts by local water officials to find, verify and remove lines promptly when needed.

"There's not a lot of naturally occurring lead in our area," he said. "If they find a lead line, they pull it out."

Reske said the town's water utility is required to test drinking water for several elements, including arsenic, selenium, barium, copper and fluoride. Residents receive results annually in a report that is mailed to them.

The most recent report, distributed last spring, noted that the utility works with residents and businesses on an ongoing basis to "increase awareness of better waste disposal practices to further protect the sources of our drinking water."

Legislation that recently passed the Indiana General Assembly promises to streamline the process of replacing lead water service lines, expediting plans approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and doing so more inexpensively. But Reske and officials in other small towns are wary that funding may still be inadequate.

"We're being aggressive on trying to identify these lead lines," he said. "So far, there are very limited grants — on a first come, first serve basis — and then there are low-interest loans if you don't get a grant."

Follow Andy Knight on Twitter @Andrew_J_Knight, or call 765-640-4809.