Circle Apartment residents received a notification today from the Town of Ithaca Public Works Department that “certain volatile organic compounds” are present in the complex’s water supply.
The contamination was caused by a project involving the coating of the Ridecrest Road water storage tank, which was completed Nov. 15. Upon refilling the tank on Dec. 11, a sample was taken and an analysis showed the concentration levels of ethylbenzene and xylene were above the maximum contaminant levels according to New York State Department of Health standards.
Ethylbenzene and xylene are both used as solvents in gasoline and the printing and paint industries. High exposure to either can cause damage to the nervous system. The New York State maximum contaminant level is 5 parts per billion each.
After the tank was finally put into service again on January 3, detectable concentrations of the organic compounds were still present in the water, but below the New York State mandated maximum contaminant level. However, recent analyses showed the concentration of ethylbenzene and xylene was above those levels again, at 5.0 ppb and 24.8 ppb respectively. The water tank is being left in service until temperatures are high enough to complete the curing of the tank, which means the water will be contaminated until the end of April.
“There is no immediate health concern for the concentration of ethylbenzene and xylene in the water,” the notification said.
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