Burkburnett: Residents Warned About Toxin in Drinking Water - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Burkburnett: Residents Warned About Toxin in Drinking Water

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High nitrate levels in this area are not uncommon. However, the T.C.E.Q. took the sample June 26th and didn't notify the city until July 11th of the problem. And, it's not clear what caused the levels to spike in the first place.

Shortly after 2:30pm Thursday, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality notified the City of Burkburnett water system, that nitrate levels in the drinking water had exceeded the maximum contaminant level.

"We need to be well informed for one thing and in advance especially, with the water this time of year. You know, every year we go through this," said a Burk resident while fixing his car.

The Environmental Protection Agency set the limit at ten milligrams per liter, anything above that is a health concern. Burkburnett's nitrate level was 11, one milligram over the maximum.

"It's scary. I mean what about the people who might get sick," said another resident, just before entering a convenience store.

High nitrate levels can cause serious illness in infants under six months old, even death if untreated. Pregnant women are also cautioned about the health effects caused by water with high nitrate levels. Burk city officials notified residents about this issue Friday, in a public notice posted to the city's website.

"It makes me feel a little bit more secure, knowing that someone is going to notify us anyway," said the resident.

Spikes in nitrates can be caused by the environment for instance, heavy rains carrying fertilizers and toxins into the groundwater or by an equipment malfunction. City officials said, neither have occurred and the spike may have been a sampling or lab error on the part of the T.C.E.Q, so the water is being re-tested.

Many Burk residents say they drink bottled water because, they just don't trust the tap. "You just can't trust it. You don't know what's coming up out the ground. And with all the oil field work going on around here you never know," said another resident.

City officials took samples to the Red River Water Authority for testing and the levels came back normal. Another sample was sent by the city to be re-tested. The T.C.E.Q. is re-testing the water as well. The results are due back by the middle of next week.

When nitrate levels are high boiling water is not effective at removing the toxin. Therefore, babies, pregnant women, and those with health concerns should use alternative sources for drinking water.

Jenyne Donaldson, Newschannel Six.

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