Fluoride in Jarrell community's water reaches unsafe levels

Some Jarrell residents are worried about what's in their water.

Some Jarrell residents living in the Sonterra community are worried about what's in their water.

They say they've received a notification that the water has high levels of naturally-occurring fluoride.

"Bits of particles floating around inside there," Mauricio Fernandez pointed out.

Since the start of the year, he's wondered what's in his water.

"We've been wary about drinking any faucet water, so we've been buying -- stockpiling I would say -- a lot of water," Fernandez said.

He's not alone, many of the other residents living in Sonterra have done the same. Two weeks ago, they got some answers about the water issues when they received a letter from their utility company, Sonterra MUD. In the letter was information that levels of fluoride deemed unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency were detected in their water.

The EPA has established the maximum containment level for fluoride to be 4.0 milligrams per liter and that any level about that is a health concern. During the first three months of this year, the Sonterra community's drinking water was found to have 4.3 mg/L.

"We have a six-month-old and all his bottles were filled with water from Sonterra MUD," new mom Amanda Robbins said.

She read in the letter that people who drink excess amounts of water with high levels of fluoride could develop bone disease and it's caused staining and pitting in children's teeth. She said she took her son to the doctor because he had been having some health issues.

"The doctor has basically said that she did some research on the fluoride and that it is the cause of his diarrhea and his vomiting," Robbins said.

KVUE reached out to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, who is tracking the issues with the water. A spokesperson told KVUE since this is Sonterra MUD's first violation and no penalty has been made, but they are expected to correct the problem and should provide an alternate source of water for the community. Robbins says that hasn't been the case.

"They just basically tell us that we need to be the ones that provide the water," Robbins said.  "They deny it. They deny any discounts or anything like that."

In a statement made Friday, a Sonterra MUD spokesperson told KVUE:

"The quality of our community's water is our highest priority. We can confirm that no one's health is in danger, and because of that, we do not have a boil water notice in effect. Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance in ground water that is typically higher in the Northern Williamson County area. We have been monitoring the situation and are exploring short- and long-term remedies to ensure that our drinking water remains as safe as can be."

These residents hope those remedies come soon. They said next Monday, Sonterra MUD is holding a board meeting to discuss the water issues. It will be at 6:30 p.m. at 113 Limestone Terrace in Jarrell and it will be open to the public.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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