Is Spencer water safe to drink?

By | January 28, 2019 7:36 am

By Hansel Moore

A notice that was sent to only a few Spencer/Van Buren residents about the water quality has sparked concerns among residents in both the city and the county.

At the end of November 2018, a letter was distributed by the Spencer Water Department to a limited number of Van Buren households, reportedly less than a dozen.

The content of the letter, however, is disturbing to anyone who consumes the water provided by the Spencer Water Department.   “Some people who drink water containing haloacetic acids in excess of the MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level) over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer.”

Haloacetic acids (HAA5, HAA6Br, HAA9) are a group of disinfectant byproducts that are formed when disinfectants, such as chlorine or chloramine, are used to treat water and react with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter present in source waters.  [Drinktap.org]

In addition to cancer possibility, according to laboratory testing, exposure can cause lead to reproductive and developmental effects during pregnancy.

Water quality has been an issue in Van Buren County for over a decade.  The Tennessee Department of Environmental and Conservation has issued a number of evaluations to the water department of Spencer during this time period.   Each letter addressed to the honorable Mayor Mickey Robinson has detailed the deficiencies in quality as per TDEC standards.  The City of Spencer has also been issued a number of fines regarding failure to comply, reportedly costing the city (taxpayers) tens of thousands of dollars over the years.

“The water department doesn’t do the testing that they are supposed to do on a regular basis.  Also they don’t flush the lines like they are supposed to,”  shared a lifelong Spencer resident.  “I know for a fact that they don’t.”

His words were confirmed by the evaluation summary provided by TDEC.

A notice declared in the letter from November stated that if anyone has any concerns or questions, those individuals can contact the Spencer Water Department directly at (931) 946-2351.

A number of attempts have been made to discuss the water quality with the mayor, however, he has not responded to communication via calls and text.

The final words of the letter sent to Van Buren citizens included, “Please share this information with everyone who may drink this water, including those who may not have received this notice directly.”

comments » 3

  1. Comment by Billie Grove

    January 28, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    We have tried to talk to Mickey about the water quality only to be blown off with a quick, “it’s ok I drink it.”
    Doesn’t look ok, doesn’t smell ok, doesn’t taste ok to us! If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is usually a duck!
    So will I or my grandson die of cancer? because Mickey will not work on this water situation?

  2. Comment by Tiffany Lambert

    January 29, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    I think its really screwy that we pay a water and a sewage bill that’s crazy expensive for our water to look and smell like untreated well water. Its gross, and not to mention the mayor doesn’t care? We haven’t even lived here a year and I can tell you white county has way better water and the price isn’t through the roof!

    Also, things that could cause cancer, that’s a scary thought!

  3. Comment by Gwendolyn Thomas

    January 30, 2019 at 8:57 am

    why are we paying for water we can not drink?


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