San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

July 18th, 2008
Mattis: ‘Kyle drinking water is safe’

By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large

KYLE – The drinking water in Kyle has never been one of the city’s most appealing features, due especially to its high mineral content. It’s been well known for generations that if you grow up in Kyle, you’re likely to develop fluorosis, a discoloring of the teeth caused by excessive fluoride in the water.

However, Kyle City Manager Tom Mattis is alarmed by recent media reports concerning the drinking water’s suitability for young children.

The city recently sent out a report to water customers citing a “Secondary Fluoride Violation,” with wording required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends fluoride levels of 1.0 parts per million (ppm) in drinking water. Some cities fluoridate their water to reach those levels as a safeguard against cavities.

But some of Kyle’s water includes natural fluoridation exceeding those levels. The water from a well near Gregg-Clarke Park measured up to 3.3 ppm last month, triggering the city’s notification to its water customers.

Mattis said today on the city’s website that “Kyle’s drinking water meets or exceeds all Federal drinking water requirements and is safe for people of all ages,” with one exception. Mattis said people living near the Gregg-Clarke well at Rebel Drive and Center Street should be advised “to provide children under the age of nine an alternative source of water.”

Kyle pipes most of its water from the Guadalupe/Blanco River Authority, which provides surface water. Kyle’s remaining supply comes from four ground water pumps, which deliver water from aquifers. As water makes its way through the aquifers’ limestone features, it picks up minerals, including fluoride.

Mattis said the Gregg-Clarke well is the only Kyle well containing “abundant levels” of fluoride. About 15 percent of the city’s water comes from the Gregg-Clarke well. That water is blended with water from other sources in Kyle as it works through the city’s water system.

However, because that water doesn’t travel far before reaching customers near Center Street and Rebel Drive, the city recommends alternative drinking water for children. The city was required to send out its notice of a fluoride violation citywide.

“This particular well is one of the oldest within the city’s system and has served our residents for many years; having been at one time one of our primary sources of water,” Mattis said. “With the diversification of our supply, however, the system dependency of this well has lessened in recent years, so the percentage of water utilized from this well with abundant fluoride actually is much smaller than it has been in previous years.”

The Hays CISD has one school very near that well, Wallace Middle School, located across from Gregg-Clarke Park’s northern edge. Kyle Elementary School, located in downtown Kyle, is the next closest school.

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