The Environmental Protection Agency recommends Canyon children under the age of 9 not drink city water, but the Canyon Independent School District still allows daily water fountain visits and continues using tap water.
Canyon residents received the 2000 drinking water quality report in their last water bill. Analysis of the city’s water led to finding three milligrams per liter of fluoride in the Ogallala Aquifer wells.
The Environmental Protection Agency has set a standard of two milligrams per liter for fluoride.
The yearly report does not exceed the EPA maximum contaminant level of fluoride, four milligrams per liter.
Certain levels of fluoride help reduce cavities in teeth. However, too much can cause dental fluorosis, a brown staining and pitting of teeth.
“Children exposed to levels of fluoride greater than one to two mg/l may develop dental fluorosis in their permanent teeth,” the report states.
“Individuals with children under the age of 9 are encouraged to seek other sources of drinking water for their children.”
The Canyon Independent School District uses city water, with no additional purification system, said Mike Wartes, assistant superintendent of district operations. There are no plans to change its current practices, he said.
“The report just came out, and we got a favorable report for our city,” Wartes said. “We feel the water is safe and drinkable.”
Floyd Hartman, Canyon water department superintendent, said there are no health hazards drinking the water.
“It is an aesthetic concern as far as young people and their teeth,” Hartman said. “If that’s the case, they can drink bottled water.”
Wartes suggests parents speak with their child’s school administrators if concerns arise.
“Obviously, because of this report, this water is acceptable,” Wartes said.
In the yearly report, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission assigned Canyon an “approved” water rating.
The water passed several qualifications to receive the recognition.
However, because the water exceeded the fluoride standard, Canyon did not receive the highest, “superior” level.
Canyon water comes from well fields in western Randall County in the Ogallala Aquifer.
The water has encountered high fluoride levels before, and is common where the wells are located, Hartman said.
Canyon’s water supply uses the Randall County wells, and a blend of Ogallala Aquifer and Lake Meridith water purchased from Amarillo.
The Randall County water contains a high fluoride content, and the Amarillo water is much lower. The mixture produced the reading above the EPA standard.