ARP, TX (KLTV) - The traces of asbestos in the City of Arp's drinking water is above the Environmental Protection Agency's maximum contaminant level, according to a letter sent out to residents last week.
"Any kind of contaminant in your drinking water is a concern and it seems to be such a small amount that I wish it wasn't there," says George Carlile, an Arp resident.
"We had started noticing something in the water, but we weren't sure what it was," says Arp Mayor Terry Lowry. "We had it tested and when it came back, it was asbestos."
According to The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, the maximum contaminant level for asbestos is 7 MFL based on running annual average. In parts of Arp the levels are as high as 13 MFL.
"According to what the TCEQ had us put in the letter, it's not an emergency situation," says Mayor Lowry. "The asbestos would have to be consumed for a number of years to possibly have any complications with your health."
KLTV reached out to the TCEQ for more information about asbestos in drinking water. They say it would have to be consumed for a lifetime before becoming a health risk. People who drink water containing asbestos in excess of the maximum contaminant level over many years have an increased risk of developing benign intestinal polyps.
Mayor Lowry says the city just recently started noticing traces of asbestos in the water, and he doesn't believe it's been an issue for that long. The city is in the early stages of creating a plan to replace the water lines containing asbestos, and eventually the city's entire water system. Some water lines were already in the process of being replaced due to how old the current system is. Mayor Lowry says that the city is working with the TCEQ to achieve the mandated levels.
In the meantime, the TCEQ says that this is not an emergency and residents do not need to use an alternative water supply. The chances of inhaling aerosols associated with showering, irrigation, or other uses is unlikely to present a risk to one's health.