High Nitrites in Commerce Water Supply

Dec 3, 2012

The City of Commerce has issued a mandatory public notice regarding the public water supply, required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has notified the City Of Commerce water system that the drinking water being supplied to customers had exceeded the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for nitrite.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has established the MCL for nitrite at 1 milligram per liter (mg/L) based on a running annual average, and has determined that it is a health concern at levels above the MCL.  Analysis of drinking water in your community for nitrite indicates a compliance value in the annual monitoring ending 2012 of 2mg/L for EP002.

Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrite in excess of the MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die.  Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome.  If your child is under the age of six months, the child must be given an alternative water supply for consumption.  Boiling the affected water is not an effective treatment for nitrite removal.

Most consumers do not need to use an alternative water supply.  However, if you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor to get more information about how this may affect you.  At this time, the health effects to fetuses of pregnant women are unclear.  If you are pregnant, you may also choose to use an alternative source of water for drinking and cooking purposes.

We are taking the following actions to address this issue:  Adding an additional chlorine booster station, flushing and additional monitoring.

Please share this information with all people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (i.e., people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses).  You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

Bryan Creed is the Commerce Utilities Director.

For a majority of residents, this news means little. When it comes to the city’s infants, though, nitrification is known to lead to blue baby syndrome.

As a result, the pump has been shut down.

Possible causes are groundwater contaminants leaching from local agricultural lands, or more likely, according to Creed, a natural deposit that has eroded and is causing a short-term spike in nitrites.

The problem is being addressed.

For more information about the situation, contant Bryan Creed, Utilities Director, at 903-886-1156.