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Posted on: August 1, 2019

TCEQ Radium Reporting Error

Public Water System Carosel

July 31, 2019

After City staff received a violation notice from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) on June 27, 2019, the City sent out a letter informing residents that our public water system had exceeded the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for combined radium (-226 & -228) in the first quarter of 2019, based on standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA).

On Monday, July 29, 2019, TCEQ informed the City that they had made a calculation error, and the City’s compliance value did not exceed the Maximum Contaminant Level. The violation has been removed from the Texas Drinking Water Watch website.

As a valued Liberty Hill community member, we want to inform you of this important correction and assure you that the City’s public water system is in compliance with TCEQ regulations.

The City is taking this situation seriously. Although our water system is currently within compliance of U.S. EPA standards, our Q1 tests were higher than average due to levels coming in from Entry Point 2, which is served by Well 2. Well 2 was taken offline immediately following the original notice from TCEQ, and it has not been operational since June 27, 2019. The City is in the process of capping Well 2 and providing official documentation to TCEQ certifying that the well is no longer in use.

As part of TCEQ’s regular protocol, sampling for the second quarter of 2019 has already been collected from the City. This likely includes data from Well 2 prior to its closure, which may result in higher-than-average sampling results for Q2 2019. TCEQ’s analysis of our water can take up to six months, but we will continue to work closely with TCEQ to monitor our water supply and provide updates to residents as we receive them.

Please see below the official documentation from TCEQ regarding the rescindment of the violation for Q1 2019, as well as additional information on the operation of our public water system. If you have questions regarding this matter, please don’t hesitate to contact City staff at (512) 778-5449.

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Rescind of City of Liberty Hill (Public Water System ID TX2460013) Combined Radium Violation for First Quarter 2019

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Water System Background and Operation

Liberty Hill’s Public Water System is served by a network of wells throughout our community. The City also receives a portion of its water supply from the City of Leander, and additional capacity is available to Liberty Hill through an agreement with the City of Georgetown.

As of July 2019, four wells are in operation in Liberty Hill, producing approximately 400,000 gallons of water per day. All water that comes in from these wells is pumped into the same water system, where it combines and goes through a chlorination process prior to being stored in the City’s water tower and ultimately distributed to our residents.

The quality of the City’s drinking water is regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Federal and state regulations have set standards for 102 contaminants for microorganisms, disinfection by-products, disinfectants, organic and inorganic chemicals and radionuclides. All public water systems in Texas are required to monitor the levels of contaminants present in treated water and to verify that each contaminant does not exceed its maximum contaminant level, disinfectant level and/or action level.

Compliance for the radium Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) is calculated on a quarterly basis using a Running Annual Average (RAA) due to the long-term health effects of the contaminant. Compliance is not based on a single sample result, and the RAA is calculated utilizing the most recent four quarters of data at an entry point to the distribution system. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) set the MCL for combined radium at 5 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).

As part of TCEQ’s protocol, quarterly samples are collected from the City and analyzed by a TCEQ-contracted lab, and the City is responsible for reporting any issues or violations that may occur. Although samples are always collected within the designated quarter of a given year, TCEQ’s analysis of that data can take three to six months. For example, Liberty Hill’s Q1 2019 sample was collected by TCEQ on January 24, 2019 and TCEQ received the sample results from its contracted lab on June 17, 2019. TCEQ then issued a notice of the results to the City of Liberty Hill on June 27, 2019.

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