Havre De Grace's 21st Annual Water Quality Report Confirms Safety, Exceeds EPA Standards


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HAVRE DE GRACE - The City of Havre de Grace has released its 21st Annual Consumer Confidence Report on Water Quality, detailing contaminant levels, PFAS concentration, and more in the city's tap water.

According to the report, Havre de Grace's drinking water in 2022 met or exceeded the standards set forth by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to the EPA, minimal amounts of 22 known contaminants are present in the Susquehanna River and are regularly monitored by state and local authorities. All contaminants were measured well below the EPA's required minimum concentrations. 

Testing was performed by two different laboratories, adding an extra layer of scrutiny to ensure the safety and quality of the water.

The Consumer Confidence Report 2022 Water Quality City of Havre de Grace. (Credit: Havre de Grace City Government/ Department of Public Works)

In 2020, the MDE began a Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS) monitoring program, focusing on the prevalence of the PFAS compounds PFOA and PFOS. In 2022, the concentrations of PFOA and PFOS in Havre de Grace's water supply were measured at 1.41 parts per trillion (ppt) and 1.76 ppt, respectively. These levels are well under the EPA's proposed Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) of 4 ppt for both PFOA and PFOS announced in March 2023.

Significant upgrades to the water treatment plant contributed to last year's encouraging data. The Water Plant upgrade that began in 2020 was completed by the end of June 2022. The plant has also installed a new SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system and is in the process of upgrading its Solids Handling Facility.

In response to the challenges of an aging infrastructure, the city has undertaken several other projects, including replacing over 1500 linear feet of water line. Old valves and fire hydrants throughout the city are also slated for replacement.

Despite rigorous testing and measures to maintain water quality, the report notes that residents also play a role in preserving water quality.

To maintain high water quality, residents are advised to:

  • Flush your water heater once a year.
  • Clean the screens on your spigots.
  • When water has not been used for several hours, run the cold water for at least 30 seconds to ensure you are receiving fresh water from the main instead of dormant water in your pipes.
  • Make sure the water shut-off valve inside your home is operable in case you have a leak and need to shut -off the supply immediately.

The city also advised residents to promptly report any changes in water pressure, taste, or color.

Lead pipes are present in many older homes across Havre de Grace and pose serious health risks, particularly to pregnant women, young children, and immunocompromised individuals. The city stressed that although it is "responsible for providing high-quality drinking water and removing lead pipes," it cannot control materials used in home plumbing systems.

According to the city, homeowners can help protect their families by identifying and removing lead components in their plumbing, reducing exposure by flushing pipes for several minutes before use, or using a filter certified by an American National Standards Institute accredited certifier.

Questions about the Consumer Confidence Report or local water quality can be directed to the City Water Plant at 410-939-1070 or the Department of Public Works at 410-939-1800.

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