The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality gave Harker Heights’ water system a superior rating, according to an annual report sent to all Heights water customers last week.
Several residents surveyed Monday mostly agreed with the report’s findings.
Esther Kent who lives on Shawnee Trail said she detects a slight chlorine smell from her faucets, but Heights’ water is clean compared to other places she’s lived, including McAllen and Augusta, Ga.
Heights’ average residual chlorine concentration is 2.77 parts per million and falls within the required range, the report stated.
Chlorine is the most important chemical to consider with water quality, and the smell is no cause for alarm, said Heights Public Works Director Mark Hyde.
“Some folks can detect minor amounts of chlorine where others can’t.”
While Kent described Heights’ water as “soft,” Hyde said the water here is “on the harder side.” That means it has a higher mineral concentration, keeping disease-causing contaminants out of the water supply.
“That’s a good thing as far as lead and copper,” Hyde said. “It’s a bad thing for people with sensitive skin.”
As part of a periodic four-year process, the city sent out 30 sample bottles to Heights residents Monday for copper and lead testing, Hyde said. The presence of those contaminants in water can stem from faulty in-home plumbing.
“Even though we send copper- and lead-free water, if folks have solder in there that’s high in lead content and it sits very long, that concentration will be higher in their water,” Hyde said.
Since most Heights homes were built after 1960, a time when lead had been eliminated from home infrastructures, most residents don’t encounter problems with those chemicals, he said.
“I drink it,” Kent said. “Even when I put it in flower pots, it’s not murky or anything.”
While Iowa Drive resident Velton Walker said Heights’ water is “fine,” he uses a water filter to ensure the water’s safety. The filter “makes it so it’s not hard water anymore,” Walker said. “Once you feel the difference, you’ll notice it.”
Boulder Run resident Morgan Tinsley said he drinks the water straight from the tap.
“If you don’t dry your laundry quickly enough, (the water) smells bad, but it’s fine.”