Decatur Utilities calls warnings about their tap water “unwarranted and unsubstantiated”

Decatur Utilities' headquarters (Photo: Al Whitaker, WHNT News 19)

DECATUR, Ala. – Decatur Utilities says that a call by advocates for people in Decatur to use bottled water over their tap is “unwarranted and unsubstantiated.” That advocacy group presented findings they say link severe health ailments and drinking water contamination in Morgan and Lawrence counties.

The Warriors for Clean Water, along with Dr. John Rose, held a press conference warning customers in Morgan and Lawrence counties not to use their tap water. The group says they believe there is evidence to suggest water contamination, of both heavy metals and perfluorinated compounds (PFC’s), is the cause of a high number of kidney cancer and kidney failure cases in parts of North Alabama.

A spokesman for Decatur Utilities declined WHNT’s request for an on-camera interview. However, in a statement the company says the water is safe, adding that calls to use bottled water are “unwarranted and unsubstantiated.”

“Decatur Utilities provides its customers with safe, clean drinking water that exceeds state and federal quality standards. Contrary to the claim made by [the head of the Warriors for Clean Water] Mr. Mixon, DU’s water treatment process is multi-staged and includes screening, chemical addition, settling, filtration, and disinfection. Decatur Utilities performs more than one million tests in-house and at third-party independent laboratories each year to monitor the level of contaminants in the drinking water provided. That report has consistently shown non-detectable levels of heavy metals such as lead, chromium, and mercury.”

Decatur Utilities also states that its water treatment plant has received awards for its water quality. The company says all recent testing show no detectable levels of PFC’s, and that it is compliance with federal and state regulations.

The advocates assert that new PFC’s have been developed by manufacturers and that they can’t be detected by utilities yet.