The City of Denmark, South Carolina is expected to provide $2.3 million of the budget in upgrading its water distribution systems. This is after nearly two years of petitioning to disclose what is in their water. Indeed, the distrust of the people from the water system stems from a history of concerns from residents over the water in the City of Denmark.
Thus, in this article, we will discuss more HaloSan in the City of Denmark. We will talk about its history and the public water system of Denmark. We will discuss its usage and its health effects on the consumers. Finally, we will talk about the upgrades of the City of Denmark in their water system.
History of HaloSan
In 2008, Denmark City began adding a chemical called HaloSan to treat iron bacteria found in one of the water systems. The State Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) approved this chemical. According to the said department, HaloSan was approved by the American National Standards Institute or National Sanitation Foundation. They considered it safe for consumption.
For many years, HaloSan was used to disinfect the Cox Mill Well. Now, there are concerns arising whether or not the chemical was safe to use as a cleaning agent.
The DHEC’s websites provide that the product has been approved. However, in early 2018, it was discovered that the chemical was not registered or approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Today, the use of HaloSan is at the focus of the two class-action lawsuits against the City of Denmark.
In one of the lawsuits, it states that HaloSan is a disinfectant that was used to treat the spas and the pools. The EPA did not approve of HaloSan to be used to treat the drinking water. The EPA provides that the HaloSn did not undergo the necessary evaluations as part of the pesticide registration process. As such, the EPA cannot confirm that the chemical is safe to use for disinfecting the drinking water.
The city has stopped using HaloSan and it has also shut down the Cox Mill well. However, people still lack trust in the quality of water in Denmark.
For one, Denmark Cares believes that although the chemical has been taken down, they don’t think that the water is safe. Questions still linger as to how the DHEC has approved the chemical in the first place.
In April 2018, DHEC and the researchers from the University of South Carolina conducted a study on what are the chemicals present in the drinking water of Denmark. They have found out 25 different things including manganese, lead, and iron. Somehow, the amount of these chemicals exceed the EPA’s limit.
Denmark Public Water System
Again, the Denmark Public Water System is served by three groundwater wells. HaloSan was intermittently used in the fourth well which was the Cox Mill Well. They do this to control the iron bacteria. This well was taken offline in August 2018. Since then, it has remained offline. Meanwhile, the water from the three wells is still being disinfected for bacteria with the use of chlorine.
HaloSan in the Cox Mill Well
HaloSan was used to control the iron bacteria in the Coz Mill Well and it is 300 feet below the ground. With the use of an automated system, a small amount was designed and calibrated by the supplier. The active ingredient in HaloSan is called as bromochlorodimethylhydantoin.
In July 2018, there was a question raised on whether or not HaloSan must be registered under the EPA Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). HaloSan has been classified as a pesticide since it was intended to kill the bacteria. As such, it is the responsibility of the supplier to register their products with FIFRA.
HaloSan has been approved for its intended use as a disinfectant by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). This approval as a drinking water additive was required by the State Drinking Water Regulations.
Health Effects of HaloSan
While the issue is currently under investigation, it is still unclear what are the health effects of HaloSan on the 3,000 residents who have been exposed to it for 10 years. However, some residents are blaming the water for illnesses that they have been suffering.
According to the health risk assessment of HaloSan in 2007, it can cause significant eye and skin irritations. It is also associated with other health problems such as itching, burning, skin rashes, skin discoloration, allergic reactions, and blistering. One can also experience bleeding, allergic contact dermatitis, eye pain, swollen eyes, and eye irritations.
The EPA provides that although HaloSan is being used as pesticides, the dosage must still be regulated. It was unclear is the dosage added to the drinking water system in Denmark was regulated or if the water has been filtered.
But without knowing the concentration levels in the water, it is difficult to determine its potential health impacts. Indeed, it is very concerning that a toxic chemical has been added to the drinking water. Even more so, its usage is unregulated.
This is another good reason why consumers are advised to invest in a good quality water filter such as the Berkey Water Filters which can remove a wide range of harmful contaminants. These contaminants can occur naturally in water which makes their way into the drinking water supplies from agricultural or industrial sources. Sometimes, this is added to the water during the treatment process to kill harmful pathogens and other bacteria.
HaloSan and Disinfection Byproducts
Chlorine is commonly used as a disinfectant that can kill disease-causing bacteria in the water. Disinfectants like bromine and chlorine can create disinfection byproducts in the water when there is excess organic matter. DBPs are considered as chemical compounds that may occur whenever a halogen-based disinfectant will react with organic matter. Regulated DBPs include Haloacetic Acids and Total Trihalomethanes.
As long as the use of all disinfectants like HaloSan and chlorine does not lead to the number of DBPs to exceed the concentrations listed by the EPA’s rule, there is no unacceptable risk to human health.
Upgrades in the Water Distribution of Denmark
According to the Mayor of the City of Denmark, the water they provide is safe. They never distributed water that was unsafe to their constituents. In addition, the water in Denmark has always been regulated by the DHEC. Furthermore, EPA had tested and approved HaloSan’s use.
Since Cox Mill Well is no longer in the system, iron bacteria is no longer a concern in Denmark. The authorities provide that if it ever shows up again, then they will have to resort to other treatments. However, they assured its people that it would not show up.
Today, the water is being treated with chlorine gas. This method is considered as a common treatment for well water.
Now, the city focuses on the aging water distribution system. The system has been in place for around 75 years. Now, they are moving towards modernizing the system. They are starting on a website to share where nearly $2.3 million of the upgrades will proceed.
The upgrades include the rehabilitation of the water towers, replacement of the water mains, and adding a new elevated storage tank that is 500,000 gallons. Changes will also include upgrading the three remaining wells in the City of Denmark. Meanwhile, the grant funding came from the South Carolina Rural Water Association that helps rural communities upgrade their aging water system.