We are currently running on the new domain and server: www.Speed-Talk.com

IMPORTANT: Update your bookmarks to https://www.speed-talk.com/forum/
(Right-click the URL and select "Bookmark this link")

Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Open to topics unrelated to Speed-Talk.
No politics. No religion topics.

Moderator: Team

Post Reply
enigma57
Guru
Guru
Posts: 1706
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:59 pm
Location: Galt's Gulch

Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by enigma57 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:08 pm

http://www.khou.com/home/I-Team-How-saf ... 10754.html

I-Team: Radiation in your tap water - Part 1
by Mark Greenblatt / 11 News Chief Investigative Reporter

Posted on November 9, 2010 at 10:00 PM
Updated Thursday, Nov 11 at 1:58 PM

HOUSTON -- Hundreds of water providers around the Gulf Coast region are providing their customers with drinking water that contains radioactive contaminants that raise health risks, according to state lab results and public health scientists.

The revelations came to light during a four-month KHOU-TV investigation, which examined thousands of state laboratory tests from water providers across Texas. The data, provided by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), ranged from 2004 to the present.

The radiation was first discovered as a part of required testing, under federal regulations, of all drinking water provided by community water systems in America.

Click here to check radiation levels in your water system......

http://www.khou.com/news/texas-drinking ... ion-levels

In Texas, the Department of State Health Services provides an independent lab to test the water for potential contaminants of all kinds and forward results to both the water system and TCEQ. Much to the surprise of many people, hundreds of water companies along the Gulf Coast and all across Texas pump water with some amount of radiation inside.

One particular type of radiation that popped up again and again in water provided by utilities all across Texas, was something called alpha radiation, which public health scientists say can be particularly problematic when consumed.

“The alpha particle -- this is the 800-pound gorilla of radioactive particles,” said Dr. David Ozonoff, an environmental health professor and chair emeritus of the Boston University School of Public Health.

Ozonoff obtained a medical degree from the Cornell University School of Medicine and serves on the Massachusetts Cancer Advisory Committee.

He said drinking water with any amount of alpha particles, even when consumed in amounts below federal legal limits, raises your risk to develop health problems or, in rare cases, cancer. Examples of alpha particles found in the Gulf Coast region are those from uranium, radium and other minerals.

Ozonoff describes alpha particles as a type of radiation that would not typically harm you unless inhaled or ingested. He warns, once you take it inside your body, your health risks immediately begin to rise.

“It can't penetrate very far, but when it hits something it does a ferocious amount of damage,” he said. “If I were to drink it, then many parts of your body are within knife-wielding distance of an alpha particle.”

Ozonoff said the danger in drinking alpha particles is that you bring them inside your body and right up against sensitive organs, where the alpha particles can damage DNA and create a possible mutation in your cells. He says the more you drink, the more you raise your risk for cancer.

In fact, even the EPA says "a single 'wild’ cell can give rise to a cancer,” and that “a single alpha passing through a cell is sufficient to induce a mutational event.”

The EPA made the disclosure in the federal register as part of the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations 2000 final rule that regulates all forms of radioactive elements in drinking water.

The “zero-threshold” allowance for radionuclides, from a health-based standard, is one reason why the EPA set the drinking water federal health goal, called the MCLG (Maximum Contaminant Limit Goal), at zero for all forms of ionizing radiation. Other potential contaminants in drinking water such as copper, selenium, barium, chlorine residuals, trihalomethanes, and many others that are not radioactive elements, all have goals set above zero.

The EPA notes there are some who disagree with its conclusion that any amount of radiation has the ability to cause a mutation. However, it states in the federal register that EPA “believes its position is based on weight of evidence and support from national and international groups of experts interested in radiation protection.”

Many of America’s largest water systems attain the public health goal with no detectable amounts of radiation in their water supplies. Many, but not all of these water systems, depend on surface drinking water sources, like rivers, lakes and streams, to supply their communities. Most radioactive alpha particles end up in drinking water only after it is pumped up from groundwater wells in regions of the country with natural uranium, radium or other radioactive deposits underground. In some cases, that are less common, radioactive elements do end up in surface water.

However, the EPA sets a “legal” limit for these contaminants above zero, which it calls the MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level). The government cannot force a water system to take action to clean up radioactive drinking water until the system exceeds that legal limit. However, as it pertains to radioactive materials in particular, Ozonoff says you are still put at risk if they are present, even in quantities below that legal limit.

“All you need is one cell to go bad,” he said, to initiate the beginning stages of a cancerous event.

While potential mutations could take place at any time when radionuclides are consumed, the risks are relatively small. For instance, the EPA estimates “a radiogenic cancer risk of slightly less than one in 10,000” for communities that consume drinking water over a lifetime with enough alpha radiation from uranium to reach the MCL of 30 micrograms. The odds have been calculated to be even lower for alpha derived from other isotopes.

However, Ozonoff warns those risk levels are calculated in isolation from your other daily exposure to all types of carcinogens, with which we regularly come into contact. For example, he points out that water can also have other radioactive elements, and that the risk from those compounds with whatever cancer risk you are already receiving from alpha.

While nearly every major city in Texas has no detectable amounts of radiation in their purified water, according to United States Geological Survey officials, the Houston region and surrounding counties are prone to having natural uranium deposits that are near the aquifers that provide well water.

Lab reports reveal radiation in Harris County Municipal Utility District #105’s (MUD #105) water dates as far back as the early 1980s. MUD #105, a suburban water provider outside the city limits of Houston, did not receive a formal “legal” violation notice until it exceeded federal limits in 2008 and 2009.

But MUD #105 did disclose those violations to residents in two annual water-quality reports. However, neighborhood resident Kareen Tolbert thinks both the MUD and regulators had a moral obligation to do more.

"Screw the fine print,” Tolbert said. “Something this serious, it should be mandatory that everybody in this district knows what's going on.”

Attorney Taylor Goodall, who represents the board of directors for MUD 105, says the MUD also began mailing out more detailed warning notices in December of 2009. The notices contained language in capital letters saying “THIS IS NOT AN EMERGENCY” and also telling residents “you do not need to use an alternative water supply.”

“I don't think there's a reason to panic,” Goodall said.

KHOU: “Do you think the ‘Average Joe’ knows there's radiation in the water?”

GOODALL: “Well I can't speak for the ‘Average Joe,’ but I know that we sent out mailers.”

Goodall says as soon as the MUD’s board was notified of a legal violation, it also began to take steps to limit the flow of water from the most radioactive water well that the utility owns, which he says still remains in limited service during high-demand times.

But residents like Felicia Byford and Tolbert, who both have young children, believe the MUD should have reduced the flow of that well long ago.

State tests show the well has always tested above the federal health goal for radioactive alpha and has consistently come close to exceeding the “legal” limit for alpha, and in more recent years, tested in similar levels for radioactive radium, too.

KHOU: “Scientists say that this amount of radiation over a number of years, leads to an increased risk of cancer in your community. Does that concern you?”

GOODALL: “Any issue of public health concerns me. But what I’m saying is…”

KHOU: “You’re saying there is no reason to panic.” (Referring to flier sent out to community residents.)

GOODALL: “There isn’t a reason to panic. I am firm in my belief that there isn’t a reason to panic.”

Byford, however, disagrees. She’s an embalmer by profession and says she sees every day what can happen to someone who comes down with cancer, and wants to lower her exposure to anything that might raise the risks to her own family.

“You come here and you drink this water,” she said. “Then you tell me how you feel in two years.”

But KHOU found out that MUD 105 is not alone. In fact, there are water providers all over Harris County that show alpha particles, according to state testing. Such is the case with Municipal Utility District 238, Municipal Utility District 23, the City of Katy and hundreds of other small water systems that depend mostly -- or entirely -- on groundwater.

One of those local water systems, known as the Suburban Mobile Home Park 2, violated federal legal limits for alpha radiation in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Yet, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality allowed the drinking water to continue to flow to residents there for years after that, despite consistently testing with some of the highest readings for alpha-particle activity and uranium in Texas.

For instance, in all four tests performed in the last two quarters of 2009 and the first two quarters of 2010, the Suburban Mobile Home Park 2 had so much radium in its water it surpassed the federal “legal” limit for combined radium by 200 percent.

In the water system’s last six tests for alpha, performed in 2009 and 2010, it more than doubled the legal limit for that type of radiation as well. The federal legal limit is set at 15 picocuries (a measurement for radiation), and the water system measured between 33 and 43 picocuries in all six of its most recent tests. In addition, the Suburban Mobile Home Park 2 exceeded the federal legal limit for uranium in eight of its last 10 tests.

The only two test results that did not exceed the legal limit for uranium include one where the result equaled the legal limit and another where it fell one microgram below the legal limit.

All of these recent readings came after the TCEQ put the Suburban Mobile Home Park on a “compliance agreement” dated July 27, 2007. The TCEQ, the agency charged with enforcing federal safe-water drinking regulations in Texas, has continued to allow the radioactive water to flow.

When KHOU asked TCEQ why it had not taken any further enforcement action in all this time, TCEQ spokesperson Terry Clawson released a statement from the agency saying:

“The TCEQ placed the Suburban Mobile Home Park on a Compliance Agreement which began on July 23, 2007 and ended on July 23, 2010. The TCEQ is awaiting monitoring results to evaluate the system’s compliance performance status to determine further action.”

KHOU also obtained a database of every enforcement action TCEQ has taken over the last six years and noted no actions had been taken against Harris County MUD #105. However, seven days after TCEQ released its database of enforcement actions to KHOU, the agency then entered into a compliance agreement with MUD 105, but has not fined the utility.

---

http://www.khou.com/news/investigative/ ... 71418.html

I-Team: State ‘lowballs’ radiation scores in drinking water - Part - 2
by Mark Greenblatt/11 News Chief Investigative Reporter

Posted on November 11, 2010 at 12:08 PM
Updated Friday, Nov 12 at 4:13 PM

HOUSTON—For more than 20 years, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality under-reported the amount of radiation found in drinking water provided by communities all across Texas. As a result, health risks to people consuming the water have been underestimated in many water systems where radioactive contaminants are present.

The TCEQ regulates water systems for compliance with federal safe-water drinking regulations. However, KHOU has learned the state regulating agency consistently took radiation readings it received from the water testing lab run by the Department of State Health Services and lowered the "official" radiation readings reported by the independent lab. The TCEQ would do this by subtracting off the margin of error for all radiation readings it would receive. The subtractions helped some utilities avoid radiation violations that could have forced them to clean up their water decades ago.

Harris County Municipal Utility District No.105 is one of those utilities that benefited from the TCEQ "math." The utility did receive two official violation notices, in 2008 and 2009, for having too much radiation in the water supply it provides to thousands of residents. However, KHOU has learned the MUD would have exceeded federal regulations for radiation in its water as far back as 1988, had the state not subtracted off the margin of error for radiation readings.

The TCEQ confirmed in an e-mail to KHOU that MUD 105’s actual lab result in 1988 for radioactive alpha radiation came in at 17.6 picocuries (a scientific unit of measurement for radiation). The measured level came in above the federal legal limit of 15 picocuries/Liter (pCi/L) for alpha radiation in the water and would have triggered a violation.

However, the lab’s 17.6 measurement also came with a margin of error of 5.3. That meant the lab felt the real radiation measurement for alpha radiation in 1988 could have been as high as 22.9 (5.3 points above the measured 17.6), or as low as 12.3 (5.3 points below the measured 17.6). TCEQ confirmed in an e-mail that it chose the lowest possible radiation number, 12.3, for regulatory purposes. The choice to subtract out the margin of error, instead of simply reporting the result, helped MUD 105 avoid a violation in 1988.

TCEQ’s Linda Brookins, who oversees all drinking water safety regulation for the state of Texas, confirms the agency consistently subtracted off margin of error for water systems across Texas, since the beginning of state testing for radioactive materials in drinking water. The state began that testing more than 20 years ago. She says the TCEQ stopped the practice in 2009, after an EPA audit instructed the agency to stop subtracting margin of error from radiation readings. Brookins believes the agency’s actions did not impact human health.

A KHOU analysis of "Texas math" concludes that TCEQ’s under-reporting helped MUD 105 repeatedly avoid testing above the federal legal limits for alpha radiation in drinking water. It didn’t receive a violation until 2008, when it was found to have too much alpha radiation in its water, even after TCEQ subtracted out the margin of error.

However, if you take away the state’s subtractions for all of its historical tests for alpha radiation, the MUD would have tested above the legal limit for alpha radiation in water at least 12 times dating back to 1988. In addition, the MUD has never received a formal violation from TCEQ for radiation in its water that comes from radium. However, nine out of the last 15 tests for radium in its water would have scored above the federal legal limit for radium (5 pCi/L) without TCEQ’s subtraction of margin of error.

"I think, from a public health standpoint, it’s hard to defend," Dr. Joshua Hamilton said. "It’s certainly not defensible from a scientific standpoint."

Hamilton is a toxicologist and public-health scientist currently working as the chief academic and scientific officer at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts. Hamilton received his doctorate from Cornell University in New York, has previously taught as a professor at Dartmouth Medical College and was the director of the Center for Environmental Health Sciences at Dartmouth.

"You’re not really getting an accurate picture of what your health risk might be. Nor does your community know what the actual exposures are," he said. "I don’t see how it could be accidental."

While TCEQ says it began the radiation subtractions in the 1980s, a federal rule regulating radiation in drinking water, written 10 years ago in 2000, should have put a stop to "Texas math" then. However, KHOU has learned the agency continued subtracting for nine more years until an EPA audit told them to stop.

"The word that comes to my mind is cover-up," said Dr. David Ozonoff, an environmental professor and the Chair Emeritus of Boston University’s School of Public Health. "It sure looks that way."

Ozonoff says an easy way to understand what TCEQ did was to think of a political poll during election season. He suggests, if political pollsters measured the president’s popularity at 50 percent, plus or minus 5 percent, the president’s popularity rating would be reported as 50 percent. He says you would not report the president’s popularity as 45- or 55 percent, or risk being seen as being biased toward one political party.

However, when it comes to radiation in drinking water, Ozonoff says, if there should have been any bias at all, it should have leaned conservatively toward protecting human health (which would have meant adding in the margin of error, if any calculations were to be performed at all).

KHOU asked TCEQ’s Brookins about it all.

KHOU: "What would you tell me if I told you that I have talked with numerous scientists across the nation that would say that what TCEQ did was bad science?"

Brookins: "Well, I guess I would have no comment on that."

"I do not believe that what TCEQ was doing at that time has impacted human health," she added.

KHOU also asked Brookins about the state’s continued subtractions for margin of error, even after the EPA published a federal rule banning the practice.

KHOU: "Did you happen to skip over page 76,727 of the federal rule? Because right here in 2000 EPA told you, ‘don’t subtract margin of error.’ Did you skip that part?"

Brookins: "It doesn’t say not to subtract."

KHOU: "It doesn’t?"

Brookins: "It is silent."

KHOU: "I’d like you to hold this in your hand for a moment and read the part underlined in blue."

Brookins: "I’m not going to do that on camera."

For the record, here is the complete text of the relevant portion we quoted from on page 76727 of the EPA’s federal rule that regulates radiation in drinking water, which was published on December 7, 2000:

"5. Interpretation of Analytical Results

The Agency recognizes that States have interpreted radionuclide analytical results in a variety of ways, including adding or subtracting standard deviations from the analytical results. The Agency believes that compliance and reduced monitoring frequencies should be calculated based on the ‘‘analytical result(s)’’ as stated in § 141.26(c)(3). It is EPA’s interpretation that the analytical result is the number that the laboratory reports, not including (i.e. not adding or subtracting) the standard deviation. For example, if a laboratory reports that the gross alpha measurement for a sampling point is 7.2 pCi/L, then compliance and reduced monitoring would be calculated using a value of 7 pCi/L."


---

http://www.khou.com/news/local/Radiatio ... 07474.html

Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

I-Team: Radiation in Houston’s tap water, long history of contamination - Part 3
by Mark Greenblatt/Chief Investigative Reporter

Part three of an ongoing series.
Posted on November 15, 2010 at 10:02 PM
Updated today at 9:37 AM


HOUSTON-- The City of Houston is one of the only major cities in Texas with radioactive elements, like uranium and radium, present in its drinking water, according to data provided by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and internal City of Houston e-mails.

The elements, which emit something known as alpha radiation, are not present in detectable amounts in Dallas, Arlington, Austin, Beaumont, San Antonio, or many other major cities in Texas.

Small amounts of radioactive elements have contaminated Houston’s water supply going back for as many years as the city keeps records on hand, which is presently for tests performed as far back as 1996. The problem appears to be isolated to the city’s groundwater wells, which provide more than 70 million gallons a day of drinking water for Houston. Some neighborhoods in Houston depend entirely on groundwater wells, while the majority of the city depends on water that is a mixture of surface water and groundwater.

Surface water sources, which include rivers and lakes, have not been found to contain radiation. City officials say the “mix,” the majority of Houston depends on, delivers about 81 percent surface water and 19 percent groundwater on average.

The Department of Public Works says it has records of 78 water samples, collected by state officials since 2004, for regulatory purposes. The four samples that came from surface water sources were “non-detect” for radiation. However, the vast majority of ground wells contained at least some alpha radiation. Six of the 78 samples contained so much they were “above the 15 (picocuries per liter)” legal limit set by the EPA for alpha radiation in water.

KHOU has learned the United States Geological Survey, a federal agency that does not regulate contaminants in drinking water (but assists in determining potential geological conditions that lead to contamination), has been conducting its own study of radiation in Houston’s water. The results of that study have not yet been made public, but internal e-mails written between public works employees suggest the federal study may have detected a much larger share of Houston wells testing above the federal legal limits for radiation, compared to what state regulators found. One e-mail, written on Oct. 12th 2010 from one public works employee to top staff members of the water-quality division, says that the USGS study found “10 out of 68 wells contain alpha particles higher than or equal to (the federal legal limit).”

Dr. Joshua Hamilton, a toxicologist who has a specialty in drinking water, says there is no safe amount of alpha radiation, even if the radiation is below that federal legal limit.

“This particle is highly energized, and it's coming in at high velocity. If DNA is in its path it will basically attack the DNA,” he said.

Hamilton is the Chief Academic and Scientific Officer at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts and he received his PhD from Cornell University in New York. He previously taught as a professor with tenure at Dartmouth Medical College, and has been a visiting scientist at Harvard. He was also the director of the Center for Environmental Health Sciences at Dartmouth.

Hamilton says attacks on your DNA by any amount of alpha radiation can lead to mutations, which can produce “wild cells.” The EPA has stated in its 2000 rule for regulating radiation in water that, “a single 'wild' cell can give rise to a cancer. For alpha particles, it has been shown experimentally that a single alpha passing through a cell is sufficient to induce a mutational event.”

Hamilton says that is why the federally-recognized public health goal (called a Maximum Contaminant Limit Goal) is zero for alpha radiation. That number is set by the Environmental Protection Agency and is listed in the federal register of the United States government. The reason for the goal is because alpha radiation is a known “class A” carcinogen.

The legal limit for radiation (called a Maximum Contaminant Limit), however, is set above zero and at various limits depending on what radioactive element is present in the water. Hamilton says your risks still increase for cancer when any amount is present, even if the amount is below the legal limit or if your water utility tells you they still meet all legal standards.

“One alpha particle, if it hits DNA in the right place, can cause a change which leads to a mutation,” he said. “Every increase in hits increases the likelihood that one of those will cause a mutation that leads to cancer.”

However, there is some good news to report about Houston's water: It has never been cited for a federal violation of the legal limits for radiation. In order to get a violation, the city is judged on the “running annual average” reading it receives for tests of its wells, not on individual tests performed at individual water well locations.

City spokesperson Alvin Wright released a written statement to KHOU claiming that “we have not detected … any reason for concern based on the levels detected.”

A read through internal city e-mails and documents, released to KHOU after we filed a request using the Texas Public Information Act, reveals a different story.

One internal e-mail dated Oct. 13, 2010, from a city analyst to public works water division employees Kira Smith and Bruce Kao states, "Jersey Village, Spring Branch, and Southwest are areas that have alpha particle and uranium concern."

Another e-mail written from the same analyst follows up on the same day to name Bellaire as "one more area we need to watch out."
The documents also reveal how, after KHOU began asking questions about radiation in water, the city began running various models and scientific studies on radiation in its water.

For one neighborhood near the southwest side of Houston, called Chasewood, city staff ran one scientific model they called a “worst-case scenario,” which studied the amount of radiation residents there were exposed to during high-demand periods.

Internal city documents show that Chasewood water tested at or above the legal limit for alpha radiation all three times it was tested, dating back to 2004. Chasewood, according to those documents, has three different groundwater pumps. One e-mail written on Oct. 20, 2010, to public works supervisor Bruce Kao notes that the “Model showed that Chasewood water reaches out a fairly large area even when one pump is on.”

Early models the city ran in October predicted only a limited amount of hours each day that groundwater with high radiation readings would flow to the area, predicting surface water that contained zero radiation would quickly flow to the neighborhood. An e-mail sent on Oct. 21, 2010, from Public Works employee Yu Cang to Mr. Kao noted: “After our phone conversation, I went back and reviewed the model … after the plant is shut off; it takes about 5 hours for the affected area to shrink half and 10 hours for the affected area … to be gone. The surface water does not come into the area as soon as I (was) expected after the plant is shut off.”

Soon after that e-mail, top city leaders made the decision to shut off the Chasewood well altogether.

What are the risks?

The TCEQ has identified Harris County as one of “several areas of Texas (with) elevated radionuclide levels.” Houston itself, however, is not in violation of legal limits for radionuclides.

KHOU asked Boston University professor and drinking water specialist David Ozonoff to help us understand the risks of drinking from Houston tap water where radionuclides are present in measurable amounts. Ozonoff is the Chair Emeritus of Boston University’s School of Public Health. He is also on the Massachusetts Cancer Advisory Committee.

KHOU: "Some people may say the risks won't lead to cancer all that often. What would you tell them?"

OZONOFF: "You're involuntarily buying a lottery ticket of which winning is the wrong thing."

KHOU: "If you keep playing, the odds go up?"

OZONOFF: "If you keep playing, your odds go up and the more tickets you buy the more your odds go up."

Ozonoff said, just like the real lottery, having low odds does not mean someone does not win.

OZONOFF: "If it's one in 10,000, if there are 1 million people in the water supply or 2 million people in the water supply, then somewhere around 100 or 200 people are winning that lottery."

Ozonoff said city officials should strive to join other major Texas cities, which have no detectable amounts of alpha radiation in their water. He also encouraged them to limit alpha radiation where the city can determine a lot of it is coming from, whether or not the sources exceed federal legal limits.

How does Houston compare to other cities?

The Environmental Working Group, a national science-based, public-interest organization, recently studied the water quality of 100 major U.S. cities. It ranked Houston near the very bottom, 95th out of 100, which meant Houston was named one of the “Lowest Rated Utilities” in America by EWG.

We asked them why Houston received such a low ranking, and the organization mentioned radioactive alpha particles as a primary reason.

The City of Houston has said the EWG report is unfair, saying large cities test more for radiation and will therefore find more.

A KHOU analysis of internal city documents reveals the city is aware the following cities had no known amounts of alpha radiation in 2009: New York, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose, Detroit, San Francisco, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Austin, Columbus, Fort Worth, Memphis, Boston, Seattle, Nashville, Milwaukee, Portland, New Orleans and Corpus Christi.

Internal documents in the city’s possession cite the following cities as having some amounts of alpha radiation in 2009 above the limits of detection the EPA recognizes: Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Charlotte, Denver, El Paso, Las Vegas and Riverside, Calif.

Those same documents record Houston as having the single highest individual test for alpha radiation in 2009 for any large city in the United States. That recording was taken in the Chasewood neighborhood.

KHOU intended to ask Mayor Annise Parker about Chasewood during a 10-minute interview to which the mayor agreed. We also informed the mayor’s staff we had planned to ask about what solutions she might implement for other neighborhoods mentioned in the city’s internal e-mails. However, her staff canceled that interview after KHOU’s first report in this series aired.

The mayor sent a written statement instead, which is posted in its entirety here in conjunction with this story.

What the city could do

The City of Houston is not required to do anything about radiation readings at any location in its water system, even though its own employees have identified some neighborhood wells as areas of “concern," because Houston’s overall system is not in violation of federal legal limits. Violations, as noted previously, are not given out for individual test results (or even for averages of results at specific locations) but rather are based on the average radiation scores the entire system receives.

In addition, city officials say attempting to install filtration systems that could remove the vast majority of radiation would be expensive.
The reason? Houston’s main water system has radioactive groundwater wells scattered all across the city. The city also has some smaller, stand-alone systems which rely solely on groundwater. The water from these stand-alone systems is not purified in a central location.

However, after reviewing the city’s internal e-mails, Dr. Hamilton and Dr. David Ozonoff both said the city should still take more action to limit radiation in the hot spots it has already identified internally. Hamilton and Ozonoff cite health risks that still exist even when the city is not in violation of legal limits. And they are not the only scientists who believe risks still exist.

“Any contamination above (zero) will produce an increase in cancer risk, even if the level is below the (federal legal limit),” Dr. Arjun Makhijani said. Makhijani is a recognized expert on energy and radiation science and leads the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research just outside Washington D.C. Makhijani did not review Houston-specific information in detail and made his comments on the basis of general scientific principles.

“There is no safe level of radiation dose, according to the best available science. This is the basis of all radiation protection regulation, including that of the EPA,” he said.

KHOU has learned that members of the mayor’s staff contacted Dr. Joshua Hamilton, who recommended the city take further action than just at Chasewood. He says any area identified as pumping a significant amount of radioactive water (either in overall volume or overall radiation readings) should either be shut down or have some kind of filtration system installed at those individual locations.
Implementing the suggestion at individual locations would not be without precedent in Houston, which has not always implemented the same water treatment upgrades at all of its facilities.

Hamilton says that he offered a number of engineering solutions the city could implement. He and Ozonoff agree that by taking care of those high radiation locations named in city e-mails such as Bellaire, Spring Branch, Southwest, etc. it might help substantially reduce the overall number of “lottery tickets” pumped into Houston’s water. When those “tickets” get pumped into the water, they are mixed with and pollute otherwise radiation-free surface water.

In addition, the city’s own staff told KHOU that certain engineering measures could be implemented to clean out the radiation, which does not respond to normal chlorination. City officials confirm that none of the following possibilities are currently in place at any locations throughout Houston:

Treatment Technologies for Removing Radionuclides from Drinking Water (as provided by the City of Houston to KHOU)

Below is a summary of the more common treatment technologies for the removal of various radionuclides from water. Most of these are on EPA’s list of Best Available Technologies for compliance with the Radionuclides Rule.

• Ion exchange (for removal of uranium, radium, and polonium)

• Reverse osmosis (for removal of uranium, thorium, radium, and polonium)

• Lime softening (for removal of hardness, radium, and uranium)

• Green sand filtration (for removal of radium)

• Co-precipitation with barium sulfate (for removal of radium)

• Air stripping (for removal of radon)

• Granular activated carbon (for removal of radon, uranium, radium, lead, and polonium)

• Electrodialysis/electrodialysis reversal

• Pre-formed hydrous manganese oxide filtration (for iron, manganese, and radium)

• Activated alumina

• Enhanced coagulation/filtration (for iron, uranium, and polonium)

• Nanofiltration (for removal of uranium, radium, lead, and polonium)

Engguy
Guru
Guru
Posts: 1365
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 9:51 pm
Location:

Re: Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by Engguy » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:27 am

And the Gore in ites, think nuke is the way to go for power. Yeah right. Talk about the most wicked pollutant there is. I guess they like it because you can't see it.

User avatar
dfree383
Guru
Guru
Posts: 1977
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:01 pm
Location: The Sand Box

Re: Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by dfree383 » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:00 am

Radio acive materials are all around you all the time, Naturaly.

I've been woring in the Power Industry for quite a long time and this includes the Nuclear field..... Its the only real solution for reliable power with very little (by volumn) waste.... and it is very safe in the US and other countries the use real construction methods, good engineering and safe operating pratices.

IMO you don;t need to be worried about the ones in North America.... Now China, Russia and the Middle East..... I'd be worried....

User avatar
dfree383
Guru
Guru
Posts: 1977
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:01 pm
Location: The Sand Box

Re: Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by dfree383 » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:03 am

Engguy wrote:And the Gore in ites, think nuke is the way to go for power. Yeah right. Talk about the most wicked pollutant there is. I guess they like it because you can't see it.
Just a note everything mentioned in the artical that Harry posted is natural stuff, nothing in those samples is from Nuclear Power Production.....

pdq67
Guru
Guru
Posts: 9223
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:05 pm
Location:

Re: Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by pdq67 » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:10 pm

He, He!!

RADON!!

Damn stuff is natural around here so gimmie a F** break.

F** scare tactics to gain legal CONTROL of the water supply.

Hell, up here at Harg, MO just east of Columbia they said radon was in the water supply and the announcement of pretty-much killed a development project that UMC ended up buying into because of the golf course that UMC already had in town. (That sucker west of the stadium is going to get developed so the CRONIES can make $millions in the near future as I see it).....

Ironic isn't it! THEY scared off potential customers that would have bought houses in a new out-lying east county sub-division probably so that they would be forced IF they aren't smart enough to see the scam, down into the south county developments that I figure MORE of the RIGHT CRONIES are a part of, but what do I know!

pdq67

2.2=8
Pro
Pro
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2005 11:19 pm
Location: N.Dak.

Re: Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by 2.2=8 » Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:22 pm

pdq67 wrote:He, He!!

RADON!!

Damn stuff is natural around here so gimmie a F** break.

F** scare tactics to gain legal CONTROL of the water supply.

Hell, up here at Harg, MO just east of Columbia they said radon was in the water supply and the announcement of pretty-much killed a development project that UMC ended up buying into because of the golf course that UMC already had in town. (That sucker west of the stadium is going to get developed so the CRONIES can make $millions in the near future as I see it).....

Ironic isn't it! THEY scared off potential customers that would have bought houses in a new out-lying east county sub-division probably so that they would be forced IF they aren't smart enough to see the scam, down into the south county developments that I figure MORE of the RIGHT CRONIES are a part of, but what do I know!

pdq67
EXACTLY RIGHT! Up here in North Dakota they are using high pressure scare tactics to get every city and farm to sign up for rural water systems. The contractors,engineering firms, and politicians are cashing in on 'stimulus' money by the millions. imagine trenching thousands of miles of pipe to EVERY city, town, village and farm in a state of only 640,000, That is their plan.
Our small farm community voted on it and we were able to convince enough people not to give up control of their most important resource, We were the only city in the county to send them packing.
I predict water resources will be the focus of the next big doom and gloom crisis of the Leftists attempted power grab.

pdq67
Guru
Guru
Posts: 9223
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:05 pm
Location:

Re: Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by pdq67 » Thu Nov 18, 2010 9:45 pm

"I predict water resources will be the focus of the next big doom and gloom crisis of the Leftists attempted power grab."

It's already happening if you look close at state and federal reg's.

It will soon become where you can't have a privy/outhouse as I know them much less a small lagoon or a private uncontrolled well so be forewarned.

It's been stated many time's in the past that water is the NEXT frontier to control after AIR...

pdq67

pdq67
Guru
Guru
Posts: 9223
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:05 pm
Location:

Re: Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by pdq67 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:28 pm

An old thread back from the dead!!

Didn't Pres. Trump recently do a GOOD job of neutering the EPA water-wise recently??

EPA suckers tried to say that any land that at one time in a year holds or has water run on it for whatever reason was going to be regulated under EPA's draconian Water Act Amendment!

Pres. Trump, You magnificent Bastard!!

pdq67

exhaustgases
Guru
Guru
Posts: 6771
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:03 pm
Location:

Re: Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by exhaustgases » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:39 pm

Nice thread, if there was a 2 gallon oil spill all blanking he,, double tooth picks,, would break out. But Nuke, naaaaaaaaaaaaa no big deal.
Just proves a real conspiracy thats all.

pdq67
Guru
Guru
Posts: 9223
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:05 pm
Location:

Re: Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by pdq67 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:24 pm

Crap like this is why Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) was dropped as a gasoline octane improver and Ethanol is used.

The stuff TASTE's bad, like turpentine and not like bourbon and branch!

Oh, and the Corn-Growers Ass's lobby!

I looked everywhere and never did find where MTBE was harmful. It probably can be drank if you can get by the bad taste?

Leaking gasoline containing MTBE from UST's made the ground water taste bad was all. And back then dammed near all the tanks leaked a bit if not mistaken?

pdq67

pdq67
Guru
Guru
Posts: 9223
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:05 pm
Location:

Re: Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by pdq67 » Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:36 pm

You notice how may fewer Mom and Pop gas stations are now around because of leaking UST's..

pdq67

Kevin Johnson
HotPass
HotPass
Posts: 8496
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 5:41 am
Location:

Re: Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by Kevin Johnson » Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:57 am

pdq67 wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:24 pm
...

I looked everywhere and never did find where MTBE was harmful. It probably can be drank if you can get by the bad taste?

...
https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=226&tid=41

pdq67
Guru
Guru
Posts: 9223
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:05 pm
Location:

Re: Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by pdq67 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:20 pm

Kevin Johnson wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:57 am
pdq67 wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:24 pm
...

I looked everywhere and never did find where MTBE was harmful. It probably can be drank if you can get by the bad taste?

...
https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=226&tid=41
Kevin,

Per your link..

"1.5 How can MTBE affect my health?

Some people who were exposed to MTBE while pumping gasoline, driving their cars, or working as attendants or mechanics at gas stations complained of headaches, nausea, dizziness, irritation of the nose or throat, and feelings of spaciness or confusion. These symptoms were reported when high levels of MTBE were added to gasoline in order to lower the amount of carbon monoxide, a known poison, released from cars. MTBE has a very unpleasant odor that most people can smell before any harmful effects would occur, but some people might feel irritation of the nose or throat before noticing the smell. MTBE caused side effects in some patients who were given MTBE to dissolve gallstones. The MTBE is given to these patients through special tubes that are placed into their gallbladders. If MTBE leaks from the gallbladder into other areas of the body, the patient can have minor liver damage, a lowering of the amount of white blood cells, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, dizziness, and confusion. These effects are not long-lasting.

We know more about how MTBE affects the health of animals than the health of humans. Some rats and mice died after they breathed high amounts of MTBE, but these levels were much higher than people are likely to be exposed to. MTBE also caused irritation to the noses and throats of animals that breathed MTBE. The most common effect of MTBE in animals is on their nervous systems. Breathing MTBE at high levels can cause animals to act as if they are drunk. For example, some became less active, staggered, fell down, were unable to get up, and had partially closed eyelids. These effects lasted only for about an hour, and then the animals seemed normal again. Some animals that breathed high levels of MTBE for several hours a day for several weeks gained less weight than normal, probably because they ate less food while they were inactive. When rats breathed high levels of MTBE for several hours every day for two years, some got more serious kidney disease than these rats usually get as they grow old. Some of the male rats developed cancer in the kidney, but whether this has meaning for people is not known. When mice breathed high levels of MTBE for several hours every day for a year and a half, some had larger livers than normal, and some mice developed tumors in the liver. When rats were given high levels of MTBE by mouth for 2 years, some male rats developed cancer in the testes and some female rats developed cancer of the blood (leukemia) and cancer (lymphoma) of some of the tissues that produce blood cells. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the EPA have not classified MTBE for its ability to cause cancer. When pregnant rats, rabbits, or mice breathed MTBE, birth defects occurred only in the baby mice. We do not know if this has any relevance for people. MTBE did not affect the animals' ability to reproduce.

Some rats and mice died after being given very large amounts of MTBE by mouth. The amounts were much higher than people are likely to swallow from drinking water containing MTBE. The effects on the nervous system in animals that are given MTBE by mouth are the same as the effects that occur in animals that breathe MTBE. Some animals that were given MTBE by mouth had diarrhea and irritation in their stomachs and intestines. Some animals also had very slight liver damage.

MTBE irritated the skin of animals when it was placed directly on their skin. MTBE also irritated the eyes of animals when it was placed in their eyes or when air containing MTBE came into contact with their eyes."

I THINK alcohol does ALL of the above and it is STILL legal to drink!

I called around and finally got hold of an EPA employee, "fuels expert", that I cornered and flat out asked him how deadly MTBE is and he hummed and heed and hawed for a while and then finally admitted it was just about as bad as alcohol, but that the dammed stuff smelled and tasted like turpentine instead of aged whiskey. Oh, he didn't want to be quoted either...

pdq67

Kevin Johnson
HotPass
HotPass
Posts: 8496
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 5:41 am
Location:

Re: Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by Kevin Johnson » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:54 pm

That reminds me of people saying, "that tastes like shit."

Hmmm, and you know that how ...?

I think in another area of that citation it mentions that when the body breaks it down one of the by-products is methanol. Poorly distilled homebrewed alcohol will get you that way too.

pdq67
Guru
Guru
Posts: 9223
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:05 pm
Location:

Re: Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

Post by pdq67 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:34 pm

Kevin Johnson wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:54 pm
That reminds me of people saying, "that tastes like shit."

Hmmm, and you know that how ...?

I think in another area of that citation it mentions that when the body breaks it down one of the by-products is methanol. Poorly distilled homebrewed alcohol will get you that way too.
Something about giving away free samples of chocolate covered rabbit turds out in the Mall and then selling toothbrushes for a $Dollar comes to mind!

I love it!!

He, He!!

pdq67

Post Reply