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Flagstaff Returns To Lake Mary Water Supply 5 Months After Contamination

Lake Mary
(Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service)
Lake Mary in northern Arizona.

After five long months, Flagstaff is ready to use Lake Mary water once again.

The water treatment center had to shut down the use of the reservoir due to contamination in October of last year. The contamination was a result of decomposed plants and fish waste combining with the chlorine used to treat the water.

The contaminated water was found to contain haleoacetic acids because of the way the water was treated, which in high concetrations over many years can increase the risk of getting cancer.

The city has switched to a safer mixture of chlorine dioxide, allowing Lake Mary water to be used in Flagstaff’s system as of Tuesday.

Thomas Bolyen, water production manager at the Lake Mary Water Treatment Plant, said this is good for more than one reason.

“We’ll be able to utilize that resource which is a much more cost effective water supply than pumping it from deep underground,” he said.

Flagstaff saw little effect during the time the reservoir was shut down because there is less demand for water during the winter months. The water for the city is tested on a regular and constent basis and no haleoacetic acids were found in the most recent water samples.

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Amanda Luberto was born in California but considers herself a native to the Valley of the Sun. She started as a producer at KJZZ in October 2017, but also interned in the newsroom as a student. She is a proud alumna of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.She has been interested in radio since starting school in 2013. She spent two years as the music director for ASU’s college station, Blaze Radio, and one year as station manager. She spent time as a music programming intern in Washington, D.C., at Sirius XM and as a tech broadcaster for Cronkite News on Arizona PBS. Luberto is dedicated and passionate about quality local storytelling and original content broadcasting.Luberto also spent years as the co-founder and chapter leader of Arizona State University’s chapter of I Am That Girl, an international women’s empowerment organization focused on the collaboration of women and building self-love. She believes in the strength of women supporting women.Her favorite podcast episode is This American Life’s “Fermi’s Paradox,” and she highly suggests you listen to it. Off air, you can find Luberto adding to her list of concerts attended, sipping at a local coffee shop or cheering on the Arizona Coyotes.