The Birch Bay Water and Sewer District (BBWSD) is pleased to provide our customers with its annual “Consumer Confidence Report” for the calendar year 2020.
This report explains the quality of drinking water provided by BBWSD. The report includes results from required water quality tests, as well as an explanation of where our water comes from and tips on how to interpret the data.
The Birch Bay Water and Sewer District (BBWSD) purchases water from the City of Blaine. The water comes from several deep wells within the City of Blaine’s well field. The City of Blaine protects, provides and treats the water supply with a small amount of chlorine. Sampling occurs at specific frequencies (continuously, daily, monthly, quarterly or annually) and at different locations (prior to treatment, as it enters the distribution system, and throughout the distribution system) in accordance with federal and state regulations. City testing includes inorganic compounds (IOC), synthetic organic compounds (SOC), volatile organic compounds (VOC), microbial substances and chlorine disinfection by-products.
BBWSD coordinates and cooperates with the City of Blaine to provide water, test for new sources, and protect water rights. The District designs, operates, repairs and maintains your water storage and distribution system in the Birch Bay area. BBWSD also checks chlorine levels, monitors and inspects new construction, and follows coliform bacteria, lead & copper, chlorine byproduct and other sampling, testing, and monitoring plans as required. Samples are taken at several locations throughout the system to ensure that the entire system is tested and monitored. All samples and sample results for Blaine and Birch Bay (and other public systems) can be viewed at https://fortress.wa.gov/doh/eh/portal/odw/si/Intro.aspx.Specific District water quality questions can be directed to the District’s Operations Manager, Mike Sowers, at (360) 371-7100.
Your drinking water meets or exceeds all water quality parameters established by State and Federal Law.
Lead and Copper
Lead and copper monitoring is required .The District has taken hundreds of lead and copper samples in residences since 1998, with results all below EPA limits. Samples are taken every three years and are drawn at times during which lead and copper is expected to be at their highest levels. The latest set included 22 samples taken in June and July of 2019: Over half of the samples were “non-detectable” for lead and the overall average for ALL samples was only 0.96 parts per billion (ppb), which is about 1/15th of allowable lead levels.
The District has been using LEAD FREE fittings & materials since 2014. Low-lead fittings (Less than 5% lead) were used prior to 2014. This included items such as pipe saddles, connectors, and water meter setters, all of which are only a fraction of the total distribution and piping system. Water main piping does not have any lead content. Residential service lines are typically copper or poly (polyethylene) pipe, which presents a very low health risk. The District has never installed lead taps or lead service lines, which were significant sources of lead in other areas such as Flint, MI. If lead is detected within a residence in our service area, it is likely due to residential piping and/or plumbing fixtures as some faucets and fixtures have a combination of brass, copper, zinc and trace amounts of lead
If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. If water has been sitting for several hours (such as overnight), you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking.
2020 Water Quality Monitoring Results
In accordance with State and Federal standards, we continually monitor and test our drinking water. BBWSD took 112 coliform samples throughout the system in 2020. The City of Blaine took over 50 additional samples, including Nitrates and DBPs. The following table lists the compounds that were detected or specifically tested in 2020 along with some sample results from prior years which may be of interest. If the compound is not listed on the table, it was not found in any samples. None of the detected compounds were above EPA allowable limits.
|EPA Allowable Limits||Birch Bay |
|Inorganic Contaminants||Units||MCL||MCLG||Level Detected||Compliance||Typical Sources|
|Nitrates (2020 – Blaine)||mg/l||10||10||ND – 1.46 ppm||✔||Erosion of natural deposits, runoff from fertilizer use, leaching septic tanks, sewage|
|Total Coliform (2020)||mpn||0||0||0||✔||Naturally present in the environment|
|Fecal Coliform &|
|mpn||0||0||0||✔||Human and animal fecal waste|
|HAA51 (2020 – Blaine)||ppb||60||60||ND||✔||By-product of drinking water chlorination|
|TTHM1 (2020 – Blaine)||ppb||80||80||3.6||✔||By-product of drinking water chlorination|
|Inorganic Parameters||Units||MCL||MCLG||Level Detected||Compliance||90th|
|Lead (2019)||ppb||15||0||ND- 9.2.||✔||2.3||Erosion of natural deposits, corrosion of household plumbing systems|
|Copper (2019)||ppm||1.3||1.3||ND-.116||✔||0.089||Erosion of natural deposits, corrosion of household plumbing systems|
- Disinfection By Products (DBPs) can form in water when disinfectants (such as chlorine) used to control microbial pathogens combine with naturally occurring minerals. Some studies have shown that high levels of DBPs are associated with an increased risk of some cancers.
|Secondary Parameters||Units||MCL||Birch Bay Results||Compliance|
Iron and Manganese can fluctuate throughout the year and may be noticeable as reddish, rusty deposits or surface film. They are aesthetic (visual, appearance) concerns only, not health hazards.
HARDNESS – The water hardness is typically in the range of 50-95 mg/L which is considered moderately hard. Hardness can vary seasonally; past samples indicate hardness may peak as high as 120 mg/l. Hardness is not a health hazard, but if the water is too hard, deposits and scaling can occur and a water softener may be needed.
pH – Your water varies between a pH of 7.8 and 8.2, with an average of about 8.0. This higher pH helps to minimize corrosion and the leaching of metal Ions (iron, copper, lead, etc…) from plumbing fixtures into the system
CHLORINE (CL2) – A free CL2 residual, typically 0.02-0.10 mg/l, is maintained in the distribution system to ensure that it remains free of pathogens and provides biological protection. A minimal chlorine residual helps to minimize the formation of Disinfection Byproducts. (MCL for chlorine is 4.0 mg/l)
Definitions and Acronyms
Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL): The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology
Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG): The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety; an individual would have to drink 2 liters of water/day at the MCL level every day to have a one-in-a-million chance of having the described health effect
Action Level (AL): The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements that a water system must follow.
90th Percentile: 90% of all values were less than this amount.
Parts Per Million (PPM): One part per million corresponds to one minute in two years; a single penny in $10,000.
Parts Per Billion (PPB): One part per billion corresponds to one minute in 2,000 years; a single penny in $10,000,000.
Milligrams per Liter (mg/L): A unit of concentration, representing 0.001 grams of a constituent in 1 liter of water.
Picocuries Per Liter (pCi/L): A unit of measuring radionuclide levels.
Most Probable Number Index (MPN): The concentration of coliform bacteria in the sample (expressed as the number of bacteria per 100mL of sample).
No Detect (ND): A compound that was analyzed and not detected at a level greater than or equal to the state reporting level (which is based on instrument & procedure accuracy and sensitivity)
HAA5: Refers to a collective group of halo acetic acids which are undesirable disinfection byproducts
TTHM (Total Trihalomethanes): A group of disinfection byproducts that form when chlorine compounds that are used to disinfect water react with other naturally occurring chemicals in the water.
The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity. Contaminants that may be present in source water include:
- Microbial Contaminants (viruses, bacteria & parasites)
- Inorganic Contaminants (salts & metals, naturally occurring)
- Pesticides & Herbicides (agricultural, stormwater runoff, residential uses)
- Organic Chemicals (industrial by-products, septic tanks, gas stations
- Radioactive Contaminants (naturally occurring or as a result of mining and /or gas production)
In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the WA Department of Health and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prescribe regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems.