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Steubenville officials keeping tabs on elevated level of trihalomethanes in water

STEUBENVILLE — Water Superintendent Jim Jenkins said his department will be keeping close tabs on treatment levels in the wake of quarterly contaminant testing that found an elevated level of total trihalomethanes in the water at a downtown Steubenville site.

Jenkins said the maximum contaminant level at the library, one of the four sites tested, was .085, slightly higher than the .080 the government allows.

“Trihalomethanes … are byproducts of disinfecting water with chlorine,” Jenkins said. “The MCL or maximum allowed is .080 and our number was .085, so no, not that bad, but it still puts us on alert,” Jenkins said. “We will continue to monitor the issue and continue to make the necessary adjustments in the treatment process to control levels.”

Jenkins pointed out the library was closed in March because of the COVID-19 shutdowns, “so we used an alternate site, which was fine. (But) the library site opened back up, so we had to take the (June) test from there because it was actually open.”

“We’re getting back to where we need to be,” he said. “Unfortunately, with businesses being shut down, water flows are not what they usually are.

“(But) this is only one site. We test four sites each time … this is just one test in one area of the city. It doesn’t mean at your house you exceeded (the levels). It’s not really the entire city water supply.

The next MCL tests will be drawn in October, he noted.

In other matters, City Manager Jim Mavromatis told council he wants them to begin meeting in the city building again. He said they’ll still have to limit how many members of the public can attend.

Meeting in person will allow council to begin budget hearings, he said, adding that Friday is the deadline for department heads to submit their budget work sheets for 2021.

Mavromatis and Law Director Costa Mastros advised council they’ll need to meet in executive session to discuss pending litigation with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission over Steubenville’s neighborhood conservation districts.

‘We did have a conference call today with the lawyers and insurance adjusters,” Mastros said. “We’re going to be presenting you with a possible solution, we need to brief you on that and see where you want to go from there.”

Mavromatis also said that, at council’s request, he met with Police Chief Bill McCafferty and Parks Director Lori Fetherolf to discuss locking park gates after dark, pointing out, “only some can be closed, and that will not stop people walking in.”

First Ward Councilwoman Asantewa Anyabwile asked whose job it is to trap feral cats, saying she’s had complaints from residents on Oakmont and Cardinal upset with the cats coming on their properties to defecate and otherwise making nuisances of themselves. Fourth Ward Councilman Scott Dressel pointed out it’s been a citywide problem for many years.

“It’s not an easy problem (to fix),” he said, pointing out the animal shelter doesn’t have the room to house stray cats.

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