City of Sabetha: No need for worry, city officials say

Sabetha residents received a letter from the City of Sabetha dated Dec. 26, 2017, outlining important information about their drinking water. The letter states that the city recently had a violation of drinking water standard. It is important to note that the violation does not create an emergency situation for consumers of the city’s water, but state law requires the city to notify residents of the violation.

Assistant City Administrator Bill Shroyer said that city officials are confident that with the changes that the operators have made at the water plant, the violation of drinking water standard has been resolved.

“We feel really good about this,” Shroyer said. “Hopefully, the changes made will take care of the situation.

Water Systems

Water systems with surface water treatment plants — like Sabetha’s — are required by federal rule to monitor the water every month for Total Organic Carbon (TOC), which is a disinfection byproduct precursor. Compliance is determined each calendar quarter by a 12-month running annual average (RAA).

The required RAA removal ratio for TOC is at least 1.00 every quarter. At the end of September 2017, samples taken showed Sabetha’s water system’s TOC removal ratio RAA was 0.87. Sabetha has not received a violation since 2005.

But, this is violation is not unique to Sabetha.

“Every plant has to deal with this,” Shroyer said.

TOC has no health effects and does not put consumers at an immediate risk. However, TOC provides a medium for the formation of disinfection byproducts such as Trihalomethanes (TTHM) and Halocetic Acids (HAA).

Drinking water containing those byproducts in excess of the maximum contaminant level may lead to adverse health effects.

The City of Sabetha has met all requirements for monitoring HAA and TTHM, and results have not exceeded the maximum contaminant level.

Shroyer said the city has never failed meeting those requirements.


The City of Sabetha has been working with Kansas Rural Water, Schwab Eaton and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to remedy the violation.

Shroyer said the city is changing the water sampling process and upping the carbon in the water, which have already made a difference.

“We have received November’s results, which were 1.2, which brings the RAA back up closer to being in compliance and with the changes made, we are anticipating the RAA to be back over the 1.0 required with December’s results,” he said.

If you have specific health concerns, it is recommended that you consult your physician.

Krista Wasinger66 Posts

Krista Wasinger is Co-Editor of The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2011. She specializes in city reporting and feature stories, as well as photography and page and advertising design. Krista is a 2004 Fort Hays State University graduate with a degree in communications studies with an emphasis in journalism. She lives in Sabetha with her husband and four children.


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