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Bridgeport providing residents with water

BRIDGEPORT — Bridgeport is providing residents with clean water following the discovery of a chemical in the village’s water system.

After testing was performed throughout Ohio’s water systems for Per- and Polyfluoroakyl substances or PFAS, it was discovered that Bridgeport’s water contained elevated levels of the chemical PFNA. The analysis found levels of PFNA at 21.8 parts per trillion (ppt) in the village’s water. The level was above the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency action level of 21 ppt. Sufficient concentrations of the chemical are linked to several health issues, including impacts on the immune system, hormones and the liver.

James Zorbini, superintendent of Bridgeport Water Works, said the chemical, which is commonly found in household products, was found in two of the village’s five production wells.

“We have five wells, two of the wells are contaminated. One (well) was above the action level and one was right at the action level. As soon as we found out the results, we shut the wells down, we isolated them. We’re now running on three clean wells,” he said.

Officials are unsure how the chemical entered the system or how long it has remained there, however they are working to correct the issue.

“We have never tested for that (PFNA), we’ve never been required to test for it. It’s a very elaborate test,” he said.

Zorbini said they have flushed the waterlines and cleaned the filters in an effort to remove the chemical from the system.

“There’s no other way for us to treat it. A conventional treatment that we use in our plant doesn’t work. The only way to remove is through reverse osmosis or activated carbon,” he said.

Although the water remains safe to bath in, residents are instructed not to ingest the water. More than 2,000 village residents are potentially affected by this issue.

“The problem with the water is you cannot ingest the water. You can shower in it, but you cannot drink the water. You can cook with bottled water, you can brush your teeth with bottled water. That’s what you’ve got to avoid,” he said.

The Ohio EPA will return later this week to retest the water. Zorbini said they should have the results sometime next week. He said he believes the results will indicate the water is clean from the contaminant.

In the meantime, the village along with the Ohio EPA and Vaughn Coast & Vaughn Engineering is working with Martins Ferry to create a long-term solution.

“We have a connection now with Martins Ferry, but in the long hall it would not be adequate. It couldn’t get enough water through it, it only works short-term. We want to upgrade that so it’s a long-term solution,” Zorbini said. “We’ve been working with Martins Ferry all along, they’ve been really great.”

The current connection between the two villages is not suitable for a long-term connection.

Zorbini said the water department is currently supplying residents with clean water at the village’s water department. A large water tank truck is stationed outside the facility for residents to fill up jugs with. He said bottled water is also available for those in need of clean water while the problem is being corrected.

“What we are doing is supplying water for the residents. They can come up to the water plant, bring their jugs. We have some bottled water available. They can come up and get what we have. We’re going to keep a tank here with clean water so people can come and get some,” he said.

The clean water will be available this week at the Bridgeport Water Plant on Ohio 7.

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