ONSLOW COUNTY -

Onslow Water and Sewer Authority sent a letter to customers this week stating that a potentially dangerous chemical was found in their water last August.

The letter stated that the levels of trihalomethane exceeded safe levels. About 60 families at the end of White Oak River Road near Maysville are affected by the contamination.

Officials with ONWASA say the chemical was created when water which had been in underground pipes for too long was treated with chlorine.

They say trihalomethane can cause liver problems and cancer, but they say that's only if excessive amounts of the contaminated water are consumed. They say people would need to drink two liters of the contaminated water with high levels of trihalomethane each day for a lifetime to see problems.

Teresa Zavala, a public information officer with ONWASA, says they are trying to stay ahead of the problem, and that the contamination affected a very small amount of people.

ONWASA officials discovered the problem last August. They say they have been flushing the pipe frequently since then to keep water moving, and they'll continue to test the water.