It’s official, you may now drink the water at the Senior Activities Center/Medical Building.
Results of water tests conducted last week at the building after a carbon filtering system was installed show that the level of MTBE — methyl tertiary butyl ether, an additive used in gasoline until it was banned in 2004 — has now dropped from the last reading of 13 parts per billion to a safe level of under 10 per parts per billion.
Town Engineer John Cronin said the reading is the lowest value the lab can report and noted that the water was analyzed for MTBE, but did not detect it.
The good news was received Friday, but Mr. Cronin waited until Monday to get a written report of the findings before announcing it and having the news posted on the town website.
About a month ago, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that the water in the building that houses the Senior Center and two medical offices was not safe to drink because of MTBE levels. That first reading showed 12 parts per billion and a retest saw the MTBE level increasing.
That worried Conservation Advisory Committee member Howard Johansen who was concerned the substance may have been in the water at the building for a long time. MTBE is not toxic in short-term exposure, but can result in headaches, nausea, dizziness, irritation of the eyes, nose and throat and feelings of disorientation.
Once the DEC informed the town of the problem, signs were posted in the building advising those who worked, attended activities or had appointments there not to drink the water.
The signs were taken down on Monday, Mr. Cronin said.
There has been no indication of how MTBE got into the water, but the town engineer has advised neighbors who are concerned about their own water supply to have it tested and take remedial steps if readings are above 10 parts per billion.