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Annual report declares base water ‘safe’

The annual consumer confidence report is mandated under the Consumer Confidence Reporting Rule of Safe Drinking Water Act and provides a depiction of the past year’s water quality. The report is designed to provide a detailed analysis of Shaw’s drinking water, highlighting where it comes from and how it compares to federal and state quality standards.

Leadership from the 20th Fighter Wing and the 20th Aerospace Medicine Squadron bioenvironmental engineering flight released the Shaw AFB Annual Drinking Water Quality Consumer Confidence Report, officially declaring Shaw’s drinking water safe for all consumers, June 27. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. William Banton)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jack Gordon, 20th Medical Group bioenvironmental engineer, tests water contamination levels at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, June 18, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jack Gordon, 20th Medical Group bioenvironmental engineer, tests water contamination levels at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, June 18, 2019. Gordon is in charge of testing the water daily for contaminants and bacteria to ensure the power of hydrogen (PH) level is in between seven and nine. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Brewer)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Leadership from the 20th Fighter Wing and the 20th Aerospace Medicine Squadron bioenvironmental engineering flight released the Shaw AFB Annual Drinking Water Quality Consumer Confidence Report, officially declaring Shaw's drinking water safe for all consumers, June 27.

The annual consumer confidence report is mandated under the Consumer Confidence Reporting Rule of Safe Drinking Water Act and provides a depiction of the past year's water quality. The report is designed to provide a detailed analysis of Shaw's drinking water, highlighting where it comes from and how it compares to federal and state quality standards.

"The Air Force strives to be in line with federal guidance, and specifically the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, to ensure that our population drinks safe water," said Staff Sgt. Carola Anselmi, 20th AMDS base water program noncommissioned officer in charge.

Capt. James Graham, 20th AMDS bioenvironmental engineer and occupational health officer in charge, said they take extra measures to ensure the quality of the base's drinking water.

"South Carolina doesn't even have a regulation for [some of the things] the Air Force tests for to make sure we are below the action limits," Graham said. "When we [test], you know as a consumer that you are definitely safe to drink the base's water."

Shaw obtains its water from multiples sources including two aquifers and five drinking water wells. According to the report, drinking water can reasonably be expected to contain small amounts of certain contaminants.

To ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the Environmental Protection Agency enacts regulations citing what amounts of specific contaminants are safe.

"I think that the most important reason you would want to spend time to read through [the report] is really to understand what you are putting into your body," said Graham. "No water is perfect but it meets every standard and is safe to drink; I drink it myself."

A full copy of the report can be found on www.shaw.af.mil. For general information on drinking and ground water testing and treatment programs contact the EPA Safe Water Drinking Hotline at 800-426-4791.