The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has recently notified the City of Andrews that its drinking water has exceeded the maximum contaminated level (MCL) for arsenic. Included below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding arsenic in the City’s drinking water.
Where does the arsenic come from?
Arsenic (chemical symbol As) occurs naturally in soil and bedrock and is found in ground water in various parts of Texas. The highest levels of arsenic in Texas occur in the Ogallala and Gulf Coast aquifers.
Is arsenic harmful to my health?
The US EPA has determined that some people who drink water containing arsenic in excess of the MCL over many years could experience skin damage or problems with their circulatory system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.
How much arsenic is in the City’s water?
The 3rd quarter running annual average arsenic level for the City of Andrews was .011 milligrams/Liter (mg/L). The US EPA has established the MCL for arsenic at .010 mg/L. (For reference, 1 mg/L is the same as 1 part per million. The .001 the city is in violation equates to 1 part per billion.)
Is the new Water Treatment Plant not working as designed? If it is, what happened?
Since coming on line in 2016, the City’s Water Treatment Plant has consistently generated drinking water that exceeds US EPA standards (see chart below). During the last several months, however, the City has been unable to fully utilize the plant’s filtering system while conducting routine maintenance.
What is the City doing to make sure this doesn’t happen again?
The City is changing its routine maintenance protocol to ensure the plant operates as designed at all times.
Link to Public Notice on City's Website
If you have further questions, please contact Danny Griffin at 432-523-4820.