ANDREWS – In 2006, new federal standards were created for the amounts of arsenic and fluoride that are allowed in drinking water. That meant Andrews was no longer in compliance. After years of research, the town finally adopted a new technology that will improve their water.
“We started the process back in 2007 to try to find a cost effective and water conserving technology that would take the arsenic and fluoride out of the water supply,” Andrews City Manager, Glen Hackler, said.
The new technology is called Activated Alumina Absorption. Andrews will be the first small town in the state to adopt the new water treatment.
“It’s actually a process where you inject some chemicals in the water at a pre-high rate of speed so that you can remove or at least get at a much smaller level of arsenic and fluoride in the water supplies so that it’s beyond or below the federal limits,” Hackler said.
Cardinal Contractors Inc. were given the bid for this project. The total cost will be $5,000,000. Although this will improve the water in Andrews, the current water does not pose any immediate health risk.
“I think it’s very debatable of whether or not there is a health issue involved. We definitely know that high rates of fluoride can have adverse effects on teeth and younger people. The arsenic levels that you’re talking about are far less than effects that would be adverse to human health,” Hackler said.
This long term solution is expected to help pave the way for other small towns.
“We can advertise that we are a superior drinking water community which means that we’re well within compliance with state and federal standards. That’s a big deal,” Hackler said.
Construction on the new plant is expected to start this October and be done within a year.
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Note from Fluoride Action Network:
• Andrews was found to have a natural level of fluoride in their drinking water of 4.9 ppm – see http://www.fluoridealert.org/wp-content/pesticides/levels/texas.html
• See 2009 article which also gives arsenic levels (30 ppb), Reverse osmosis units could be installed in every Andrews household