Just recently, the E-P-A required the nation's water systems to test for trihalomethanes, a disinfection byproduct of standard chlorine treatment. Wickson Creek just started last year.
"You look at it over a running average, and once you exceed 80 parts per billion, then you have exceeded the maximum contaminant level," said Kent Watson, general manager of Wickson Creek Special Utility District. "And after the first of the year, we exceeded that level."
The company covers rural portions of Brazos, Robertson and Grimes Counties. But of the 1,000 Grimes County customers, Wickson Creek says 600 are affected by the problem, caused due to four wells in the Iola area.
"It's primarily where the wells are shallower wells, where wells have some iron, some lignite deposits," Watson said.
As the company updates its disinfection process from using chlorine to chloramines, they say the levels trihalomethanes will decrease. But until the average dips to acceptable levels, Grimes County customers will continue to receive this notice, which warns of liver, kidney problems and cancer risks. But Watson says only those with current health problems should be even the slightest bit concerned.
"If a person has a particular health problem, they might want to let their medical provider know about the situation and ask if there's a problem," Watson said. "Traditionally, it will not cause a problem unless it's consumed in large volumes over long periods of time."
"My reaction was that they've got good water," said local resident Glen Harmon, who was out cutting his lawn Friday. He said he isn't concerned by the notices, and looks at his own well on his property has proof enough the water he drinks from Wickson Creek is fine.
"It's a hot day, and as soon as I get this patch done, I'm going to take a little break and drink a little water and go back and cut another one," Harmon said.
He's sweating because the heat, not over his water.
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