It is safe to drink the water. That is the message of the 2012 drinking water quality reports released by three Fort Hood-area cities last month.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires local water suppliers send out annual six-page reports, which provide detailed scientific information about local drinking water quality.
Many people throw the reports away when they arrive in their mailboxes and, in most cases, that’s OK, said Andrea Morrow, spokeswoman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The U.S. has some of the safest drinking water in the world and, with the vast majority of water supply systems, there is nothing to worry about, Morrow said.
“The levels are very, very conservative,” Morrow said. “Even if the (contaminant levels) are exceeded somewhat, they shouldn’t have a public health impact and even if they do, it would be over a long number of years.”
The studies show that the water we drink is much more complex than H2O.
A Consumer Confidence Report performed by Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 looked at more than 80 contaminants, including fluoride, chlorine and arsenic. None were found at excess quantities in the water.
Despite the complexity of the report, CCRs are helpful for people who suffer from chronic illnesses or other conditions that make them sensitive to the water they drink, Morrow said.
Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those who suffer from immune system deficiencies are especially susceptible to illness from contaminated water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Each system and each water source is different,” Morrow said.
Morrow said that many people live in the same place for many years — and drink the same water — so they should know what is in it.
“One reason for the report is to let people know what is reported in their water so they can make a decision based on their own individual concerns,” Morrow said.
The city of Killeen purchases its water from WCID-1, which treats surface water at its treatment plant on Belton Lake.
Steve Kana, Killeen’s director of water and sewer utilities, said this year’s water quality report card showed all positive marks.
“The test shows that our water is passing all of the regulations,” Kana said. “We passed the test for another year.”
The city performs its own daily tests on city water after it leaves the WCID-1 plant on Belton Lake, because there is potential for contamination in the municipal system’s pipes and mains.
Kana said that the 2012 Consumer Confidence Report conveys overall contaminant levels; however, the city’s Public Works Department takes around 125 water samples each month.
“It’s not just an annual test that we do. We test for some of these contaminants daily,” Kana said. “We are constantly testing the water.”
Drinking water in Copperas Cove also was deemed safe in its 2012 Consumer Confidence Report, said Daniel Hawbecker, water superintendent for the city.
Copperas Cove purchases its water from WCID-1 as well.
“Everything is good and what they consider to be the maximum contaminant levels,” Hawbecker said.
“I don’t foresee any other problems coming over the next few years.”
A potential water shortage in Central Texas is not expected to have an effect on water quality, said Jerry Gage, superintendent of Bell County Water Supply Corporation No. 3, which supplies water to Nolanville.
“We are not foreseeing any problems,” Gage said.
WCID-3, which purchases its water from WCID-1, did not exceed any of the contaminant levels in 2012.
“The report says, basically, it’s OK to drink your water,” Gage said.
Harker Heights and Kempner have not finalized their reports, which are due July 1.