Why We Have Great Water in El Dorado
To have great tasting water it certainly helps to have great source water. El Dorado Reservoir is a fairly young reservoir, completed in 1981. The drainage basin above El Dorado is predominantly the tallgrass prairie of the Flint Hills and rainwater runoff comprises most of the water entering the Lake. Because of these factors, the water is relatively soft (low mineral content) and its clarity very good.
The superior quality of El Dorado Water Treatment Facility’s drinking water is the result of a combination of the proper operation of a multistage treatment facility and a laboratory that performs 2,500 monthly tests on samples taken during the treatment process and throughout the 129 miles of distribution system piping. El Dorado currently has 4 personnel that hold a Class IV Water Operator’s license, the state’s highest certification level. Water quality is monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Chemical dosages are scrutinized daily and sophisticated instrumentation keeps a close watch on water quality.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment recommends all cities switch from chloramines to free chlorine for a short period each year to thoroughly disinfect the distribution system. The type of chlorine normally in the water, chloramines, has no chlorine taste or odor, which most people prefer, but it is not as powerful a disinfectant as free chlorine. Most people will notice the change in the taste while we perform this recommended switch for a short period each year.
Algae taste and odor are usually not a problem in El Dorado for two reasons. First, we have very clean, good quality source water in El Dorado Lake with low nutrient levels. Excessive nutrients lead to algae blooms. Second, to combat any possible unpleasant tastes and odors associated with surface water we have multiple barriers in place to adsorb and remove these unwelcome qualities continuously to produce the best tasting water possible.
Public water systems are required to deliver high quality drinking water that meets stringent federal and state standards to millions of Americans every day. Systems are obligated to test regularly for 90 contaminants (from Atrazine to Zinc) to ensure that no contaminant is present at levels that may pose a risk to human health.
The SDWA, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014, is the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans’ drinking water. Under SDWA, EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and oversees the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards.