Fluoride Action Network

Midland continues to contain fluoride above the acceptable levels

Source: MyWestTexas.com | Midland Reporter-Telegram
Posted on June 21st, 2011
Location: United States, Texas

A recently released report on Midland’s water quality during 2010 shows it continues to contain fluoride above the acceptable levels.

Those levels apply only to water taken directly from the Paul Davis Well Field pipeline and not to water that’s provided from the city’s water plant, said Danny Presley, engineering technician at the Utilities Department.

“Technically, we have to send a letter out to everyone in the city,” Presley said. “(It’s) only those people on that line that have that level.”

The report was sent to residents last week and posted on the city’s website Tuesday, said Tasa Watts, public information officer.

Generally, Presley said 20 percent of water provided to residents consists of resources from the Paul Davis Well Fields and 80 percent is from what’s purchased through the Colorado River Municipal Water District (CRMWD).

In blending water, the fluoride content drops below the state’s acceptable levels before provided to residents.

Presley said they also have started testing for arsenic on a quarterly basis and will send letters out for that if levels are higher than acceptable at the point water is piped in from the Paul Davis Well Fields.

“We get fluoride and arsenic basically solely because of Paul Davis,” Presley said.

With the CRMWD decreasing Midland’s water allotment an additional 10 percent starting July 1, Presley said the city now is testing an increase in its use of the Paul Davis Well Fields. The CRMWD cut Midland’s water provisions by an initial 10 percent earlier in the year.

By increasing the amount of well field water mixed in by a precise amount, Presley said they can still remain below the state’s acceptable levels.

He said the city is not trying to make up for its CRMWD decreases with well field water but wants to be prepared in case it needs to supplement resources. City officials have been meeting with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to learn of its options, he said.

“The best thing to do is just reduce water and then we wouldn’t have to worry about this,” Presley said.

Currently, the city sells water to oil companies directly out of the pipeline from the Paul Davis Well Fields, although Director of Utilities Stuart Purvis told the city council last week that practice will end. Presley said they’ve notified the oil companies they’ll need to find other resources.

Water from the well fields typically is high in fluoride because of oil field production and because the region was covered by ocean water at one time, Presley said.

Alicia Diehl, drinking water quality team leader at the TCEQ, said fluoride naturally occurs in West Texas and that it’s not uncommon for levels to be high.

Fluoride was the only contaminant for which Midland received a violation in its water report.

Sara Higgens contributed to this report.