Residents of East Talkeetna and Talkeetna businesses received notice with their water and sewer bills this past month that arsenic levels are exceeding EPA levels. However, the levels are so close to the guidelines, officials say there should not be alarm. They are working on getting a filter for the system.
The letter was an advisory note explaining that Talkeetna’s water is no longer compliant with the arsenic levels demanded by the federal goverment. Chuck Jacobs, Talkeenta’s sewer and water maintenance man, said that the EPA lowered the allowable levels for arsenic from 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion. Water systems all over the U.S. have scrambled to try to comply with the new standards. There are places that have arsenic levels above 200 parts per billion.
Talkeetna’s water usually sits at 11 parts per billion, just barely over the new limit. Jacobs says the filter system they need is about $100,000. They are hoping for funding from the state and the Borough to obtain the filter system needed.
Oddly, Talkeetna’s arsenic levels dropped to zero right after the big earthquake in 2002, but it has been slowly rising back to what it was prior to the quake.
Jacobs says Willow, whose arsenic levels usually test around 40 parts per billion, has finally found funding for a filtration system. He hopes Talkeetna can be next.
Jacobs says Talkeetna’s sewer system overall has improved so much over the last 5 years that it’s now in excellent condition. Final upgrades to the system, minus the arsenic filter, will be completed in summer 2009. According to Jacobs, people on the sewer and water system in Talkeetna have some of the best and healthiest water in the state. He says anyone interested in testing their own well can go to Mat-Su Test Lab, the same lab that does Talkeetna’s testing.