Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Report is in: Williamsburg water meets or exceeds federal safety levels

Waller Mill Park in Williamsburg. (Adrienne Berard/WYDaily)
Waller Mill Park in Williamsburg. (Adrienne Berard/WYDaily)

With hot summer days approaching Williamsburg residents will be relieved to know that the quality of their tap water meets or exceeds state and federal regulations.

The City of Williamsburg has released their annual water quality report to its customers, which is available at the city’s website.

Levels of lead, copper, fluoride, chlorine, barium, and beta emitters are all below the respective MCL, or maximum contaminant level. The levels are determined by the Environmental Protection Agency and is the highest level of a contaminant allowed in drinking water.

However, levels of lead can vary from building to building, depending on their respective plumbing material and components. The report advises flushing the tap for 15 to 30 seconds after the tap has been unused for several hours in order to limit lead exposure.

“All drinking water, including bottled drinking water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants,” stated the report.  “The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. To ensure that the water provided to you is safe to drink, the Virginia Department of Health and the EPA set limits on the amounts of certain substances in water provided by public water systems.”

Possible contaminants include microbes (such as viruses and bacteria), inorganic substances (such as salt and metals), pesticides and herbicides, organic chemicals and radioactive contaminants.  The report indicates that Williamsburg’s water meets state and federal requirements for contaminant levels.

The City’s primary source of drinking water is the 350-acre Waller Mill Reservoir, which holds 1.5 billion gallons of water.  The city can also draw groundwater from a well in Waller Mill Park or use raw water from Newport News Waterworks through an agreement.

The report includes a list of the city’s water treatment processes:

  • Aluminum sulfate coagulation and filtration removes cloudiness and organisms such as giardia and cryptosporidium.
  • Chlorine disinfection protects us from bacteria and viruses.
  • Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay in children.
  • Activated carbon helps prevent taste and odor issues.
  • Acidity adjustment and a corrosion inhibitor to help protect water mains and household plumbing.

The city’s report was reviewed and approved by the Virginia Department of Health Office of Drinking Water.

Questions regarding the report may also be addressed to the City’s Public Works and Utilities Department at or by calling (757) 220-6140.

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