Levels of Radium Found in Drinking Water in Pecos County

By Sylvia Gonzalez
NewsWest 9

PECOS COUNTY - Higher than normal levels of radium have been found in the water in Pecos County. Radium is radioactive material that occurs naturally in our rocks and soil and it's not the first time this has happened. However, officials are saying the tainted water isn't actually harmful to humans or animals.

According to the State's Environmental Agency, Pecos County Fresh Water has been in violation for the past six months after levels of radium were detected in their drinking water. County Precinct 2 Commissioner, Santiago Cantu, says although levels of radium were above normal there is no reason as to why anyone should be alarmed since the levels aren't harmful to humans or animals.

"The community knows that it's not something that's gonna be real harmful or they cant drink it because they are gonna immediately feel something," Cantu said.

NewsWest 9 spoke with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality via telephone and they said the first violation was issued in September of 2011 and then again in March of 2012. On both occasions, the water was above the maximum contaminate level but Cantu says some things are just out of their control.

"It's something that happens underground. The radium is just natural deposits that comes from the ground and gets into the water," Cantu said.

Pecos County Fresh Water Manager, Roy Martinez, says they're following procedures and have notified residents in Coyanosa and Imperial of the ongoing problem.

"We posted it on the water bill and we sent them letters," Martinez said.

County officials say they are working to solve the problem.

"We are trying to correct the problem which is by drilling another well, the well has been completed, but its not online yet. We are still needing power to go to it and once we do that we can probably mix the water to maybe get that level down, Cantu said.

Pecos County hopes the additional well will be up and running by the end of the year.

TCEQ told NewsWest 9, they will monitor the situation and ensure Pecos County solves the problem.