City of Cullman water appears clean enough to have minimal issues complying with new Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) standards, according to a state official.

ADEM representative William McClimans spoke with Cullman County and City of Cullman officials Tuesday about upcoming compliance changes.

Specifically, McClimans discussed disinfection byproducts (DBP) and how well the local water distribution systems are prepared to deal with Environmental Protection Agency stage two compliance, which goes into effect January 1, 2012.

If there are too many disinfection byproducts in water, bladder cancer or short-term reproductive and developmental risks could be a threat.

The stage two compliance requires more thorough water testing in an effort to ensure all areas of a water distribution system meet ADEM standards — as opposed to a more lenient average of the overall water testing areas.

“Stage two is where things get hairy, but they also get a little simpler,” McClimans said. “It’s going to be a lot more challenging for water systems in the state to remain in compliance ... The systems are going to be responsible for their own monitoring and compliance.”

Judging by an acceptable disinfection byproducts level, McClimans said many areas in the City of Cullman water system — as well as distribution systems around the county — should be able to meet the new standards when they go into effect.

“Really, you’re not in that bad of shape,” he said. “Within the city limits things are going well. The water plant is putting out some good numbers.”

McClimans recommended tips such as flushing pipes and cycling water more frequently between tanks to reduce the level of disinfection byproducts.

Cullman Mayor Max Townson said it was important to review this information from ADEM, as it will help the city meet the new water standards as they come into effect in the future.

“We asked ADEM to come and talk to us to give us some tips to improve our water quality in Cullman,” he said. “We don’t want to put out any product that is not usable.”

‰ Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 225.

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