City says it resolved above-average radium levels in water system


By April S. Kelley

Some residents of Liberty Hill may have received a notice from the City of Liberty Hill Public Water System citing results of an annual water sample, indicating above-average combined radium levels in city water. The City quickly shut down the well causing the issues, located at 501 Loop 332.

Liberty Hill Public Works Director Wayne Bonnet said radium is naturally-occurring in public water systems, however, the levels were above average. Bonnet said the City fixed the issue very quickly.

“It was an annual sample and our levels were above the average, so we found the issue and took care of it immediately,” Bonnet said. “We have since shut that well down, which immediately decreased the radium levels. We will not be opening that well back up.”

The annual sample was collected and analyzed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and it concluded that the drinking water being supplied to consumers exceeded the Maximum Contaminant Levels set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency of combined radium -226 and -228. Analysis of Liberty Hill water showed a compliance value of 6.4 pico curies per liter (pCi/L), with 5 pCi/L being the Maximum Contaminant Levels. The EPA states that levels above 5 pCi/L are a health concern.

Though this was not an emergency situation, the notice stated that some people who drink water containing above-average combined radium levels in excess over a number of years could be at a greater risk for developing cancer, which is why the City acted quickly and began looking for a new location for future well sites, Bonnet said.

Bonnet also said there is no need for residents to seek alternative water sources at this time since the issue has been resolved. The notice did say, however, that if anyone experiences any health concerns to speak with a physician.

Liberty Hill water customer with additional questions or concerns should contact City Hall at 512.778.5449.