Testing for cancer-causing toxic gas in the Hill Country


by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY

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Posted on January 14, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 15 at 2:01 PM

LLANO, Texas --  Water is flowing at the Llano River thanks to weekend rains. But Llano, like most of Texas, is concerned about the current drought.

Mayor Mike Reagor said water is the city's biggest priority.

“You have drought, people get scared, then you have rain, people don't get scared,” Reagor said.

Llano River is currently the only water supply for the city, so now the city is considering several options for an alternate water source, including building a pipeline to the Hickory Aquifer. However, that plan has raised some concern.

"If there's poisonous gas in it, and that's just going to cost more money, then are they going to be honest with us about how much is in there?" asked Angela Walker, who has lived in Llano for 15 years.

The “poisonous gas” Walker is referring to is called radon.

Radon occurs naturally, but its also cancer-causing and radioactive.

Click here to learn more about radon.

The Hickory Aquifer is believed to contain the gas, so the city hired an engineering firm to test the aquifer for radon.

Depending on the results, the city could spend $5 million to $10 million building a pipeline to the aquifer, and even more money to filter the water to safe levels. That money would be paid for by the people of Llano.

Mayor Reagor admits something must be done about the city's future water needs, and they hope to have the test results back by spring.

It could take several years for an approved plan to reach development phase.