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Mt. Pleasant Waterworks says it called GenX test "invalid" because of reporting standards

Mount Pleasant Water Bill 5.png

Mount Pleasant Waterworks says it called the findings of an independent lab's test for chemicals in the town's water "invalid" because the lab uses different reporting standards, not because the chemicals in question weren't found.

In a news release Wednesday, MPW gave further explanation as to why in a statement Friday, July 28, it called results of an analysis by Charleston's GEL Laboratories for the chemical GenX and other PFC's 'invalid."

GEL in early July tested the water of a man who lives in Mount Pleasant's Dunes West neighborhood. The test came back positive for GenX and other chemicals.

But Mount Pleasant Waterworks says GEL's reporting standards for chemicals fall below the threshold the town uses.

"The GenX result reported by GEL was noted on their report as an estimated value, meaning that the data is below a value in which the instrument can precisely measure," MPW officials explained in Wednesday's news release. "Although reporting this value is standard practice for GEL, it is not a typical practice for MPW and most water utilities."

Thus the town's assessment that the detection of GenX by GEL was invalid.

MPW says other PFCs were detected in minuscule concentrations (10 parts per trillion) well below the EPA’s current standards for what qualifies as a health risk (70 parts per trillion).

"Detection in water quality samples does not automatically equate to risk and the interpretation of the data needs to be professionally assessed," MPW said Wednesday.

MPW says after meeting with GEL representatives about the man's water test, the lab intends to highlight detected compound concentrations in bold font to help further clarify its data in future reports.

GEL declined to discuss its findings of the Mount Pleasant man's water analysis with ABC News 4 following his release of the findings to us in July, GEL said at the time it could not discuss a specific client's results with anyone.

Meanwhile, MPW says it is in the process of arranging a task force on chemical threats in drinking water. The agency says the task force will include representatives from state universities, regulators, and other water professionals.

"This task force will focus on better understanding and preparing for emerging compounds," the agency said Wednesday. "MPW will look to this group to determine the need and frequency of testing beyond the current regulatory requirements. In addition, this group will also work to address historic taste and odor concerns. As leaders in the water industry, we feel compelled to proactively prepare for detection and reporting of any compounds of concern."

Details of all Mount Pleasant Waterworks' testing results can be found AT THIS LINK.

Worry over the presence of contaminants in Mount Pleasant's drinking water came amid fears of a possible cancer cluster in the town after 11 people living in close proximity were diagnosed with rare brain cancers.

DHEC has since said its latest data shows no evidence of a cancer cluster in Mount Pleasant.

DHEC, Mount Pleasant Waterworks and Charleston Water System each went on to have Mount Pleasant water tested for the presence of pesticides. A laboratory in Indiana tested sampled from each agency, and reported all came back negative for pesticides.

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