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PORTSMOUTH - The City of Portsmouth’s Water Division has begun mailing out copies of its 2005 Annual Water Quality Report to all 7,500 customers in Portsmouth, Newington, New Castle, and portions of Greenland and Rye.

The 2005 report, which is required by the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act, also is posted on the City’s web site at Copies will be available at City Hall and the Library.

The Annual Water Quality Report provides a general overview of the Portsmouth Water System, such as the sources of drinking water and how it is treated and purified, as well as the results of water testing completed in 2005. Much of the wording in the report is required by federal law.

The 2005 Report also references the October 2005 problem with turbidity - or cloudiness -- that occurred in many of the State’s surface water systems after more than 13 inches of rain caused a large volume of runoff that “stirred up” many of the region’s reservoirs, including the Bellamy Reservoir.

As a result, the City’s Madbury Water Treatment Plant had a difficult time providing optimum treatment for a short period of time. Once the problem was detected, the City took immediate steps to rectify the problem.

All Portsmouth Water System customers received letters not long afterward, advising them of the steps taken and that no indication of bacteria was found in any water samples taken during the period.

Turbidity is a cloudiness or haziness caused by particles too small to be seen without magnification. It has no direct health effects, but can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth.

The Madbury Water Treatment Plant was built in the late 1950s and was not designed to handle rapid changes in water quality. The Water Division is currently evaluating new water treatment technologies to improve treatment performance and reduce the potential for future turbidity problems.