Mt. Charleston residents assured of the safety using new chemical in drinking water


The Southern Nevada Water Authority told people in the Rainbow subdivision of Kyle Canyon that it's adding a new chemical to their drinking water.

Zinc Orthophosphate is being introduced to the well water to reverse a chemical reaction being created by water with elevated levels of sodium chloride.

Sodium Chloride is being blamed for causing the water to leach lead and copper from aging pipes in the water delivery system.

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"It doesn't take very much Zinc Orthophosphate to corner this reaction," says Kevin Fisher, SNWA director of water treatment and quality.

Thursday night, residents were assured of the safety of using zinc orthophosphate during a community meeting.

The meeting followed tests done by SNWA that showed elevated levels of lead in the water at three homes.

"They said it was about 2 parts per billion, which I was told is a very small amount, but with a two-year-old inside, I think anything is a bad amount," said Josh Bowers.

The Sodium Chloride levels are elevated because it's used on Mount Charleston in deicing agents.

Many people blame the water authority for the lead problem. The agency hasn't upgraded all of its old water pipes, even though it raised water bills two years ago to pay for the projects.

The problem of corrosive water leaching lead and copper from old plumbing also exists in homes built prior to 1990.

While some people urged SNWA not to add zinc orthophosphate to the water, that wasn't the purpose of the meeting.

By law, the water agency must make such public disclosures about the use of chemicals in drinking water.

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