East Providence News

7/21/2014 - Important Information About Drinking Water


City of East Providence


The City of East Providence public water system has levels of Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) above drinking water standards. TTHMs are a group of volatile organic compounds (Chloroform, Bromoform, Bromodichloromethane, Dibromochloromethane) which form with time when the natural organics in water react with chlorine as it breaks down.


Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard. Although this is not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened, what you should do, and what we are doing to correct the situation.

The federal and state regulations recently changed to be more protective of public health and this is the first TTHM violation in the City’s water system. It is likely the violation may occur again in the future until such time the City completes its proposed water system improvements.  The City purchases its water solely from Providence Water and is required by the Rhode Island Department of Health to add chlorine to the water received from Providence Water in order to maintain a chlorine residual of 0.2 mg/l. The City of East Providence remains responsible for the water quality that it provides to its customers.

The City of East Providence public water system, which receives its water from Providence Water, routinely tests at various sites within the distribution system for disinfectant byproducts (DBPs). EPA sets standards for controlling the levels of disinfectants and DBPs in drinking water, including total trihalomethanes (TTHMs). The average results of tests taken during the last four quarters show that our system exceeded the standard, or maximum contaminant level (MCL), for TTHMs at one location. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard for TTHMs is 80 ppb, parts per billion, for a locational running annual average. East Providence water system’s locational average level of TTHMs for the last four quarters (July 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014) is 85 ppb.



There are no actions that you need to take at this time. You do not need to use an alternate (i.e. bottled) water supply. You do not need to boil your water or take other corrective action. However, if you have specific health concerns consult your doctor.


This is not an emergency or immediate risk. If it had been, you would have been notified immediately.

Many water systems treat water with a chemical disinfectant, such as chlorine, in order to inactivate pathogens that cause disease. While disinfectants are effective in controlling many harmful microorganisms, they react with organic and inorganic matter in the water to form DBPs, some of which pose health risks at certain levels. Some people who drink water containing trihalomethanes in excess of the MCL over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer. The public health benefits of chlorine disinfection practices are significant and well recognized.  Consequently, one of the most complex questions facing water supply professionals is how to reduce risks from disinfectants and DBPs while providing increased protection against microbial contaminants.


We are working to minimize the formation of TTHMs while ensuring an adequate level of disinfection to protect customers from exposure to bacteria. The City Council has approved a bond to begin system upgrades to distribution mains, a new storage tank, treatment system, and transmission main.


For more information, please contact Stephen Coutu, Public Works Director or James Marvel, Water Superintendent at (401) 435-7741 or in writing to, East Providence Water Utilities Division, 60 Commercial Way, East Providence, RI 02914. For general information on TTHMs, you may also call the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 or visit the EPA website at http://www.epa.gov/safewater.


Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example people in apartments, nursing homes, schools and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.


This notice is being sent to you by: East Providence Water Utilities Division        PWS# RI1615610     Date posted:_______