An annual Portales water report was released last week to reveal Portales water is safe to drink, but residents may want to keep it away from small children.
The 2014 Portales Water System Drinking Water Quality Report also highlighted that Portales residents may soon see a waste water treatment plant.
“This report is designed to provide details about where your water comes from, what it contains and how it compares to standards set by regulatory agencies,” the report read.
Elevated fluoride levels have been detected in the Portales water system.
“At low levels, fluoride can help prevent cavities, but children (under 9 years of age) drinking water containing more than two milligrams per liter of fluoride may develop cosmetic discoloration of their permanent teeth,” said the report.
The levels for Portales water range from 2.1 to 2.4 milligrams per liter.
Public Works Director John DeSha said the fluoride levels come from natural deposits in the aquifer.
“The only thing we add to the water is chlorine for sanitary purposes,” said DeSha.
The report suggests children under age 9 should find an alternative drinking source.
“Children under the age of nine should be provided with an alternative drinking source or water that has been treated to remove the fluoride to avoid the possibility of staining and pitting of their permanent teeth,” according to the report.
The water that Portales residents use for every day life comes from the Ogallala Aquifer, more specifically from 48 wells in the Sand Hill and Blackwater Draw well fields.
This report states that the aquifer is depleting at a quicker rate than it can be replenished.
Portales city officials have taken action to preserve water by getting funds to build a wastewater reclamation facility to be able to reuse some water for irrigation.
The city of Portales also has a voluntary water schedule in place: Odd numbered addresses water Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday while even numbered addresses water Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with no watering on Monday or between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily.
“In 2013, the New Mexico Environment Department approved an application by the city of Portales for a 20-year, zero percent interest Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund for the $26,580,000 and an Environmental Protection Agency Grant for $420,000,” according to a letter written by Mayor Sharon King.
The water reclamation facility is being built at the same site as the past water treatment facility south of Portales on Roosevelt Road Q 1/2.
DeSha said the new facility will be started up next week, so any “kinks” can be worked out ahead of time. The start up process takes about 120 days, because officials have to “let the plant grow.”
He said construction for the entire project should be complete before the end of the year.
The new plant should not need to be updated for 80 to 85 years, according to DeSha.
“We were thinking as far ahead as we could with this new facility,” he said.
Title of article: Local water testing gets mixed results
Note from Fluoride Action Network: These high levels of fluoride have existed for years. See the CDC’s Fluoridation Census of 1992.