How The City of Athens Boils Down to Others in Athens County

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The Athens Public Works serves the most people, 22,854, in all of the six public works plants in Athens County and has had five violations since 2001, according to Safe Drinking Water data (SDWIS) from the EPA. These violations were for coliform, which is defined by the EPA as “bacteria that is naturally present in the environment and is used as indicator that other, potentially-harmful, bacteria may be present.”

Stone said they use these bacteria as an indication if they should issue a boil order.

In comparison to the other five public works plants in Athens County, Athens’ water is among the cleanest.

Just six miles away from Athens, Chauncey has the most violations. Chauncey Public Works serves 1,428 people and has had 43 violations since 2002, according to SDWIS. These included violations of nickel, cyanide, arsenic and mercury in the water.

“America has an aging infrastructure,” said Andy Stone, Director of Athens City Public Works. “The pipes are getting to the end of their life right now.”

Stone said the boil orders are a result of the pipes breaking and the fact that it costs money poor Appalachian towns cannot afford to pay. 

In comparison, other public works in Athens County, Le-Ax Regional Water District and Amesville Public Water System have had no violations. Nelsonville Public Works has had seven since 2001 with violations in coliform. Burr Oak Regional, which is one of the smaller public works, with a population of 761, has had four violations since 2004, all of which were for carbon.