Texas Drinking Water May Be Worst in the Nation
Texas has been struggling with regulatory compliance at drinking water plants and may have more trouble than any other state in the nation. Federal officials have claimed that more than 310 of the 7,000 public drinking systems, which make up about 4.5 percent of regulated public water systems in the state, are having quality issues that have not been adequately addressed. The water law violations in Texas mostly arise from unhealthy levels of contaminants or failure to test the water properly and frequently enough.
The Environmental Protection Agency claims that this is the highest percentage in the nation and has issued a letter naming the plants that need attention. Most of these plants with severe problems are small public water systems, like those for mobile home parks. But some of the systems are larger and serve thousands of people. The water resources used by these systems have naturally occurring contaminants, like arsenic, that are enormously expensive and difficult for municipal plants to remove.
Texas officials are hesitant to believe the federal numbers accurately represent the state’s tap water quality. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) officials say the federal estimate is outdated and report that only about 4 percent of systems have issues that need more attention. The agency claims to have stepped up its enforcement in the past year by training more staff and pursuing more than 100 public water systems for clean water violations in recent months.
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