Arsenic levels too high in some Central Texas water suppliers - KXXV Central Texas News Now

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Arsenic levels too high in some Central Texas water suppliers

By: Amanda Gomez

WACO--The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is enforcing 2006 guidelines from the EPA about how much arsenic can be in your water and now some Central Texas suppliers aren't in compliance.

"There's about ten communities in the Central Texas and Waco area that have in other ways good ground water but it has this arsenic problem," said Alicia Diehl, team leader for the Drinking Quality Water Division of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

You can't see it and you can't taste it, but arsenic is a naturally occurring chemical that is in the water you drink and the food you eat. Most drinking water naturally has a small amount of arsenic and it usually isn't enough to hurt you.

However, the Environmental Protection Agency says that if an individual drinks water with unsafe amounts of arsenic for a number of years he or she will be subject to some health risks.

Now, the same arsenic levels that were okay are not meeting the standard set by the Environmental Protection Agency and this is causing communities like Axtell, who hasn't been in compliance with the guidelines for four years now, to find a way to fix this problem.

"The solution is a solution that we could see going forward in the future but they'll have to be some pipes put in," said Diehl.

Affected water supply companies have come up with a solution to build an 18-mile pipeline to connect to another system and possibly purchase water from the City of Waco.

Jonathan Echols, Public Information Officer for the Waco Water Utilities, told News Channel 25 a group of those water suppliers, East of Waco, are trying to gather funds to build that pipeline.

"They've met with the City of Waco several times so it's on our radar and as far as right now we're just kind of sitting and waiting on their plans to build that infrastructure, the pipe that would come into our system but we expect to have plenty of water to be able to provide," said Echols.

But the project won't be cheap or quick and it could cost upwards of $20 million.

"Of course now you're talking about finding money for contractors and construction and it always takes longer than residents would like," said Diehl.

Tricia Law, Vice President of the FHLM Regional Water Supply Corporation, which is the group of water suppliers trying to build the pipe, told News Channel 25 that they are asking for grant money from the Texas Water Development Board. This includes Falls County, Hill County, Limestone County and McLennan County.

The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality also said there are 120 systems statewide that are not in compliance right now with the Environmental Protection Agency standard and they're working with these suppliers to fix the problem.

If you are looking for a short-term fix the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality encourages people to use some home water filters like Britas or Reverse Osmosis but they want to remind people to change the filters.

 

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