SANDY — Elevated levels of lead and copper have been found in Sandy’s drinking water, affecting some homes in the area, according to Utah Department of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Donna Spangler.
Sandy City officials are reaching out to affected residents to notify them of precautions they should take, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality said in a tweet.
About 600 households are being affected, according to Sandy Director of Public Utilities Tom Ward. City officials were going door-to-door Friday evening to notify those affected, the DEQ said. A reverse 911 call also was sent out, and other steps are being taken to get the word out, the agency said.
Water is safe to drink, as long as residents flush all water taps, according to Ward. However, Utah Division of Drinking Water Director Marie Owens said the department does not yet have enough information to say that the water is safe to drink.
Residents between 700 East and 2000 East, and from 10600 South to 11400 South, are advised to leave cold water on for about 30 minutes and hot water on for another 30 minutes, Ward said.
This is equivalent to about $6 worth of water, but the city will be refunding the cost to those residents affected, according to Ward.
On the evening of Feb. 5, during last week's snowstorm, a fluoride feeder kicked on and was feeding un-diluted fluoride into Sandy's water system, according to Owens.
The fluoride release continued until Sandy City officials discovered the problem on Thursday, Owens said.
That situation led to the release of lead and copper into the system, Owens said. The fluoride levels were so high that the chemical likely stripped protective coating from pipes in the city's system, releasing the metals into the water, she said.
BREAKING: Sandy City drinking water has elevated levels of lead and copper in its drinking water. On Alert. Media contact me.— Donna K Spangler (@deqdonna) February 16, 2019
On Feb. 7, Sandy City took samples of the lead and copper levels in the city's water, according to Owens. Results from those tests came back on Friday and showed high levels of the two substances, she added.
Sandy has since flushed its system for fluoride, and levels of that chemical were at an acceptable amount as of Friday, Owens said.
On Friday, state officials were working with Sandy City to determine which homes in the area were at the highest risk, Owens said.