The Grayson County Water District has been found non-compliant over "bad water" received from Leitchfield Utilities.

In a letter addressed to Leitchfield Utilities Superintendent Dwight Embry from Grayson County Water District Manager Kevin Shaw, the district reports that it has been "put on notice by the Department for Environmental Protection" and has been refered to the Division of Enforcement for being in violation of excessive DBPs (disinfection by-products).

"This violation is from a sample point that is water received from the city of Leitchfield at the Salt River Pump Station," Shaw writes, adding that the sample location of concern was at Risner's Hardware west of Big Clifty, and the sample that put the district in violation was collected in the third quarter of 2017.

Per Shaw, the maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for haloacetic acids (HAA5) is 60 mg/L, but the sample collected on Sept. 18, 2017 was recorded at 139 mg/L at the point of entry at the Salt River Pump Station and 129 mg/L at Risner's Hardware.

"A sample result of this magnitude threw our annual running average into non-compliance for three consecutive quarters, resulting in the Water District being referred to enforcement with the Department for Environmental Protection," Shaw writes. "We are being required to go to an administrative conference with the Division of Enforcement on July 24."

Shaw requested in his letter that Leitchfield Utilities explain what caused the "bad water" and what would be done to prevent the problem in the future.

"The contract between the Water District and the city requires the city to deliver potable treated water in compliance with applicable purity standards," Shaw writes. "A water quality issue like this one is serious and has to be addressed."

In a responding letter, Embry writes that it is "surprising and unexpected to have a sample with levels as high as indicated. However, having two samples make it unlikely a faulty reading error occurred."

According to Embry, total organic carbon (TOC) levels at the city's raw water source exceeded 7.0 mg/L during the same corresponding time period of the high DBP levels, and this is "nearly double the lake average."

"With TOC levels having a direct relationship with DBP formation, this is our first explanation of the high readings," Embry writes. "Obviously TOC levels are out of our control."

Embry goes on to write that the city is in the process of building a new water treatment plant, which is Leitchfield Utilities' "ultimate solution to the water quality issues and we have committed nearly 25 percent of total budgeted cost for granular carbon filters specifically to address DPB."

Leitchfield Utilities currently runs its water plant 22-24 hours per day to meet peak demand, but the new water plant will also allow the city to shut down for longer periods of time for better water turnover in the system, according to Embry.

"In the meantime, we will work diligently to keep our water quality as high as possible by monitoring TOC levels at both of our intake sites, evaluate ways to improve tank turnover and distribution flows and evaluate our chlorine application points," Embry writes.

"It is unfortunate these water quality issues have occurred," Embry writes in the conclusion of his letter. "It is difficult, if not impossible, to meet current water quality standards with a 50-year-old plant, but we are working and committed to correcting these issues as the Grayson County Water District is a valued customer. We trust our level of commitment is reflected in our planned expenditure level."