Latest Water Information
Important Information on Your Drinking Water and
Answers to Your Questions
Concerns? Questions? Call us at (763) 572-3554.
A Look Back
Last spring, we informed you about a new concern with Fridley drinking water called 1,4-dioxane. We addressed it and continue to test and monitor all Fridley drinking water. The source of this concern was not in Fridley wells, but from water supplemented from the City of New Brighton. In order to protect you, the supply of water from the City of New Brighton was shut off.
The City of Fridley has found traces of 1,4-dioxane in some samplings of our wells, however, the concentrations are well below the MDH guidance value, meaning there is no health risk to you. We continue working with public health agencies and other government entities to eliminate even these traces. We will not supply water to you that is unsafe.
Our latest tests show only traces of 1,4-dioxane in some wells, at or less than one-tenth the MN Dept of Health guidance value. We continue to use the best available science to monitor our source water wells and take actions necessary to ensure the safety of our customers.
We continue to work with the City of New Brighton and public health agencies to find a permanent solution that is protective of public health for all systems. The City of New Brighton will soon be concluding pilot testing of a treatment process for 1,4-dioxane that they intend to have operating in 2018. Fridley is also participating in technical reviews with multiple agencies to identify sources and risks of 1,4-dioxane and coordinate responses with our sister cities of New Brighton and Saint Anthony.
Your drinking water is safe. Fridley drinking water has and will continue to meet all state and federal standards. If you have any concerns, you can read the frequently asked questions below or give us a call at (763) 572-3554.
Questions about 1,4-dioxane and your drinking water:
Q: Is my water safe to drink/bathe/cook/prepare infant formula?
A: Yes. Fridley drinking water is safe. We have and continue to meet all state and federal standards and are delivering water that meets even the lowest existing health advisory level from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). We are committed to continue providing safe, high-quality drinking water.
Q: What is 1,4-dioxane?
A: 1,4-dioxane is a substance that is used to stabilize chlorinated solvents. It also can be found in some consumer products including shampoo, bubble bath, laundry detergent, soap, skin cleanser, adhesive and antifreeze. Foods may also contain small amounts of 1,4-dioxane from additives and packaging materials. It should not be confused with dioxin.
Q: Why is there concern about 1,4-dioxane?
A: The U.S. EPA has classified 1,4-dioxane as a likely human carcinogen.
Q: Where does it come from?
A: Since 1993, the City of Fridley has operated an interconnected water supply with the City of New Brighton, receiving supplemental water from New Brighton. This water is treated with a Granular Activated Carbon treatment system to remove contaminants that were introduced into groundwater during past operations at the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP). It was recently determined that 1,4-dioxane was used as an additive to solvents that were used at TCAAP when it was in operation. New Brighton's water treatment plan was designed to remove TCAAP contaminants that were known at the time it was built. As the scientific knowledge about 1,4-dioxane has grown, it has been discovered that its unique properties are unable to be captured through New Brighton's current treatment system.
Due to these findings, testing was performed in March and April 2015 in the City of Fridley water distribution system and the presence of 1,4-dioxane was discovered. Upon receiving these results, supply of water from the City of New Brighton was shut off. This interconnect will remain closed until we find a long-term solution.
Q: How much 1,4-dioxane is a health risk?
A: 1,4-dioxane is still being evaluated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and federal regulations have not yet been set. We have been proactive in going beyond current regulations, taking advantage of new technologies and working with public health agencies such as the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the USEPA to assure safe drinking water for you.
Recently, MDH set an advisory level for 1,4-dioxane of 1 ppb. If 100,000 people each consume 2 liters (a little over half a gallon) of water containing 1 ppb of 1,4-dioxane every day for 70 years, less than one additional case of cancer is possible. To put that number in perspective, the American Cancer Society reports that 51% of men and 41% of women in Minnesota will be diagnosed with a potentially serious cancer during their lifetimes, regardless of water consumption containing 1,4-dioxane. That's approximately 46,000 in a population of 100,000.
The cancer risk specific to drinking water containing low levels of 1,4-dioxane is extremely low.
Q: How much 1,4-dioxane was detected in Fridley drinking water?
A: Some samples from Fridley wells detected slight traces of 1,4-dioxane, well below the MDH guidance value, meaning there is no health risk to you. We are working to eliminate even these traces.
Testing of supplied water confirmed low concentrations of 1,4-dioxane, ranging from 2.9-5.5 ppb. This prompted us to shut off the interconnect from the New Brighton water supply.
Q: Why is 1,4-dioxane only being discovered now?
A: Scientific knowledge and understanding of 1,4-dioxane has increased in recent years, and the methods available to test for water contaminants, like 1,4-dioxane, at extremely low concentrations have improved. It was not possible until recently to test for 1,4-dioxane at extremely low concentrations, such as the MDH guidance level of 1 part per billion. Also, the health risks associated with 1,4-dioxane were not well known until recently.
With more recent scientific advances, Fridley has been working with agencies like the USEPA and MDH to implement testing programs to seek out substances that may be present in drinking water at extremely low concentrations, but which are not subject to regulatory limits on the amount permitted in water, such as 1,4-dioxane.
The City has been and remains proactive in going beyond the current regulations and taking advantage of technological advances to assure safe drinking water.
Q: Why is there no federal drinking water limit for 1,4-dioxane?
A: Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the USEPA is responsible for setting enforceable limits on the amount of particular substances permitted in drinking water. The USEPA is currently gathering data to assess the prevalence of 1,4-dioxane in water supplies nationally, and the appropriate limits to set to protect public health.
Q: What will the City of Fridley do now?
A: We intend to continue monitoring our drinking water wells for 1,4-dioxane, and taking any necessary measures to minimize the risk to public health.
In addition, we plan to:
1. Monitor our source waters wells to continue and provide water below the MDH guidance values to ensure the safety of our customers based on the best available science.
2. Continue to work with the City of New Brighton and public health agencies to find a permanent solution that is protective of public health for all systems.
3. Work with state and local agencies to help identify the extent of the contamination and to ensure that water supplies are not impacted.
4. Provide updates to you, answer your questions and keep you informed. We will post any new findings or information on our website. You can contact the City of Fridley with additional questions or concerns at (763) 572-3554, or contact the Minnesota Department of Health Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.