• Published
  • 31st Fighter Wing

Elevated levels of Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) were found in drinking water in one sample collected in September 2023. The water is potable and there are no significant health concerns.

What happened?

Bioenvironmental Engineering (BE) collected routine annual water samples from various locations to test for Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) levels in the drinking water at Aviano AB. The sample for Area A1/A2 showed levels exceeding Italian Environmental Final Governing Standards (FGS) Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for (TTHMs). Our system did not exceed the United Stated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) MCL for TTHMS.

Should I be concerned about Total Trihalomethanes ingestion?

Both EPA and Italian environmental regulations set advisory levels at very conservative action points and sampling protocols to find worst-case situations. The intent is to warn populations of potential health risk. In addition, the health advisory level is based on a lifetime exposure of an individual consuming 2 liters of water every day.

The results are high enough for us to notify consumers, but are not high enough to be a concern for your health. According to the EPA, there is not enough proof to show that THMs cause cancer in people; however cancers have been detected in some animal studies. Further study is needed but as a safety measure, drinking water guidelines are set to ensure a very low level of potential health risk over a typical lifetime of exposure. Short-term use of drinking water that exceeds the guidelines is unlikely to have an impact on human health. If you are experiencing signs or symptoms and believe it may be due to TTHM exposure or are unsure if you have a relevant pre-existing condition, please contact the 31st MDG at 632-5000.

What should I do?

At this time, no alternative source of water is necessary. You can lower your TTHM exposure by flushing your water tap for 30 seconds prior to use.

Drinking tap water that has TTHMs, showering, bathing, and using water for recreation (ex: swimming, hot tubs) can all increase TTHM exposure. TTHMs can be absorbed through skin or inhaled by breathing water vapor when showering, bathing, etc. All of these types of exposures and normal daily activities were considered when setting the standard for THMs in drinking water.

What are Trihalomethanes?

All drinking water sources could contain microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses that may cause serious illnesses. Drinking water is disinfected with chlorine to destroy those microorganisms. Chlorine is the most common disinfectant for treating drinking water. When chlorine is added to water that has organic matter such as decaying plants and algae, disinfection by-products (or side effects) can occur.

Trihalomethanes (THMs) are the most common type of by-product. We are required to monitor your drinking water for the presence of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) on an annual basis. When disinfectants are used in the treatment of drinking water, disinfectants react with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter present in water to form DBPs.

BE will increase TTHM sampling to a quarterly basis, in coordination with increased flushing and system monitoring by Civil Engineering (CE), and keep all consumers posted on findings and recommendations.

Further questions can be directed to BE at 632-5532 and CE at 632-8202. Local Nationals can contact their CPO at 632-8341.

This notice is being sent to you by the Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight – 31 OMRS. Date distributed: 20 October 2023