VIENNA, W.Va (WTAP): Updated: 4/12/2016 5:40 P.M.
Across the country, states and communities are lowering the threshold for C8 concentration in their drinking water.
West Virginia is not among them.
The state of Vermont earlier this year lowered to .02 parts per billion: the concentration of the chemical considered safe for drinking water.
The cities of Parkersburg and Vienna, however, say they will continue to observe the U.S. EPA guideline of .4 parts per billion.
“We have not had all the testing and the scientific studies done that I’m sure the EPA requires,” said Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp. “We would never be able to do that, so we have to trust them that the numbers they are giving us are benchmarks that have been tested.”
The West Virginia Bureau of Public Health, which oversees drinking water safety in the Mountain State, says it is waiting to see if the federal EPA takes any action before changing its standard.
Groups including Keep Your Promises DuPont have called for the reduction of the C8 standard to .05 parts per billion or lower.
New information about C8 levels suggest Vienna’s water levels may be more concerning than they seem.
During last week’s Vienna City Council meeting, Mayor Randy Rapp told the community about some recent water samples, showing C8 levels slightly higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s guideline.
That guideline is .4 parts per billion.
Vienna C8 levels were .129 and .106 parts per billion.
But new research by Harvard University says the drinking water standard for C8 should be .001 parts per billion.
That’s 400 times lower than the current federal advisory standard.
Mayor Rapp says while the research is unsettling, they’re focusing on the current standards.
“We have to go with what standards we have right now,” said Rapp. “We’re keeping an eye on the future, and that’s why we’re going to do all the increased sampling and, you know, see where we are with our numbers. And that’s all we can do right now.”
Rapp says for now, they will be monitoring the C8 levels from their monthly samples, and will keep the public informed as new data comes along.