By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Water quality issues continue to plague the Laguna Madre Water District’s (LMWD) water treatment facilities in the year since it has switched from using sand filtration to microfiltration.
In mid-April, the District received a notice from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that the drinking water it produces had exceeded the “Maximum Contaminant Level” (MCL) for trihalomethanes (THMs). The notice prompted the District to issue a notice of its own advising customers of the situation. It is the second such notice the District has issued to customers this year. The first came on Jan. 13 after water testing in December revealed exceeded levels of THMs.
THMs are a disinfection byproduct created when chlorine reacts with organic compounds found naturally in the water. Like many water treatment facilities, the LMWD adds chlorine to the water as a disinfectant to kill any possible disease-causing organisms such as bacteria and viruses. When allowed to stay in the water too long, however, the THMs can form.
According to the notice issued by the LMWD, “Some people who drink water containing trihalomethanes in excess of the MCL over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidney, or central nervous systems, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.” Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines dictate that THMs in excess of 0.080 milligrams per liter (mg/L) are out of compliance. Water testing at the District revealed THM levels of 0.118 mg/L, 0.115 mg/L, 0.096 mg/L and 0.092 mg/L at different monitoring sites.
After issuing the first notice in January, LMWD engineer Charles Ortiz delivered a presentation to the South Padre Island City Council to explain what the contamination was, how it occurred and what steps the District was taking to correct the problem.
Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.