The Town of Cameron announced Brandon Brown will be the new water operator at its July 26 meeting and accepted David Reynolds’ resignation. Reynolds had served as the Certified Water Operator since Jan. 1992. The reason Reynolds resigned was not announced.
Brown’s part-time position begins Aug. 1 and is dependent on background checks. He currently works for Carthage as the water operator.
The meeting room at Cypress Pointe Fire and Rescue was filled to capacity with a sheriff’s deputy called in to oversee the meeting.
Cameron hosted speaker Matt Casto from the North Carolina Rural Water Association.
Casto said the town’s two operating wells, number seven and number eight, used chlorine, but chlorine was not effectively treating the concentrations of iron and manganese.
“The filter may need replacement,” Casto said about well number eight.
The town had ordered two $100,000 replacement filters under the direction of Reynolds.
The town voted to cancel the order for the two filters under the direction of Casto, who said the state must send an engineer to evaluate and approve the filters to manage the iron and manganese.
Resident Tammy Owens, who previously worked on the water committee, produced a November 2017 water report which said the town had voted to interconnect to Moore County, a state regulation for emergency water use, for approximately $30,000 and had approved Reynolds’ recommendation that a flusher be installed on the west side of town to “remove the brown water.”
“The east side has it, and it works fine. The town passed buying the auto flusher for two thousand, but it was never installed,” Owens said.
Citizens on the west side, from Red Hill Road toward Carthage, shared more complaints about brown water.
Resident, Tammy Owens, fills a glass with tap water at her home in the town of Cameron on July 19, 2022.
A new estimate for an interconnect was quoted at $87,000.
Casto said the town may use well seven alone, and only use well eight at peak times.
Citizens requested water system updates with water bills.
Town Clerk, Wendy Butner, informed citizens that a new automated phone system will send participants phone messages, in addition to the monthly newsletter to share water system updates.
“Iron is a secondary contaminate but does not have an immediate health risk,” Casto said. “If the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] was aware of iron as a health risk, they’d be down here. The manganese levels are up there with iron.”
Owens held up a brownish-red jar of water and said the water ruined appliances, clothes, hair, skin, and that there was no way the water could be good.
“It is not good,” Casto said.
According to a 2018 study, “Recent Advances in Trace Elements,” by Chojnacka, Katarzyna, and Agnieskza, the World Health Organization (WHO) works with the EPA to establish safe drinking water guidelines (p. 70).
Manganese levels at 500 micrograms per liter are allowed by the WHO and EPA in the United States. In Argentina, manganese levels at 100 micrograms per liter are allowed (p. 70).
The 2018 study states on page 184 that trace minerals, iron and manganese are required by humans in doses less than 50 mg per day.
North Carolina’s Rules Governing Public Water Systems 15A NCAC 18C .1512 CONCENTRATION OF MANGANESE states, “A community water system which has a manganese concentration in excess of 0.05 mg/l shall provide treatment to control the water quality.”
The 0.05 milligrams per liter converts to 50 micrograms per liter, below the 500 micrograms per liter allowed by the WHO and EPA in the United States.
Casto said he tested the iron and manganese levels that day, July 26, and the levels were five times over the EPA limit.
Feature photo: Samples of Cameron’s water sit on the town council’s table at the July 26, 2022 meeting.
~Article and photo by Sandhills Sentinel Journalist Stephanie M. Sellers. Contact her at [email protected].
*Chojnacka, Katarzyna, and Agnieszka Saeid. Recent Advances in Trace Elements. Edited by Katarzyna Chojnacka and Agnieszka Saeid, Wiley Blackwell, 2018.
UPDATE: The Town of Cameron published the following on its website:
DEQ (DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY) REPORTS THAT THE WATER SOURCES IN CAMERON ARE IN COMPLIANCE AND THE WATER SUPPLY IS NOT CONTAMINATED AND HAS NOT BEEN CONTAMINATED. MANGANESE AND IRON HAVE BEEN REPORTED FOR SOME TIME NOW AND ARE NOT A THREAT TO HEALTH. THE DISCOLORED WATER IS AESTHETIC IN APPEARANCE BUT NOT HARMFUL. CASES OF BOTTLED WATER ARE AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP AT TOWN HALL FOR ANYONE WISHING TO PICKUP A CASE.
2021 Annual Water Quality report available at town hall or online under government tab, then forms. please contact town hall if interested in receiving a copy.