MAWC Corrects Water Quality Exceedance

Haloacetic acid levels south of route 30 meet standards


February 2, 2022 (New Stanton) – Water quality concerns from November 2022 were corrected by the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County (MAWC). Recent quarterly sample results for Haloacetic Acid 5 (HAA5s) revealed that efforts undertaken by MAWC to flush the system and transition from free chlorine to chloramines facilitated a reduction in HAA5 levels to meet state and federal standards.

In November the public was notified that MAWC violated the drinking water standard for disinfection byproducts called Haloacetic Acid 5 (HAA5s). HAA5s and other byproducts form when chlorine, used for disinfection, has time to react with warmer water and the organic matter found in water. Warmer than usual temperatures in the fall of 2022, combined with unusually high concentrations of organic material in the Youghiogheny River, contributed to the HAA5s exceedance. In October 2022, during routine monitoring for the drinking water contaminant, test results showed that a single site out of many locations sampled exceeded the annual running average of 60 parts per billion with results at that location of 65 parts per billion.

“Since the state and federal standards are based on an annual running average, we had to wait three months before official samples were conducted. However, since the October exceedance was discovered, our water quality team has worked extensively to correct the exceedance,” said authority manager Michael Kukura

The recent quarterly samples reduced the annual running average to a level below those set by state and federal regulations. 

State and federal guidelines require customer notification when the annual running average is exceeded. Health concerns exist for some people who drink water containing HAA5s in excess of the 60 parts per billion over many years.

"We are pleased with the quick action taken to correct the exceedance,” said authority manager Michael Kukura.