Ballinger Water Series: Part 3
Author: Ricky Cody, Bobby Schuyler
Published: 11:54 AM CDT August 3, 2018
Updated: 5:17 PM CDT August 8, 2018
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After a couple of weeks of waiting, the results are back from the SimpleWater Tap Score. The third party has no connection to west Texas. For more information on SimpleWater Tap Score, click here.

John Pujol is one of the co-founders of SimpleWater Tap Score. Pujol also serves as a project manager and receives countless water samples every day.

In a phone call interview, Pujol said the tests show a high amount of hardness in the water. He admits that water hardness isn’t a health concern, but it could be a real nuisance.

“Hardness is what builds up on the inside pipes,” says Pujol, “it can make the gap where the water flows thinner and cause issues for the infrastructure, but it can also harbor a lot of nooks and crannies for bacteria and other potential issues in the water.”

The USGS reports that wastewater is cleaned of not only suspended solids, but microscopic particulates, too. This is most commonly down with chemicals in the water treatment facility.

“The elements which jump out most glaringly are the arsenic and the bromoform,” adds Pujol, “Bromoform is generally formed by water treatment, water utility, or whoever is treating the water; adding a disinfectant into the drinking water, and that disinfectant can then interact with organic matter in the water and form bromoform.”

In episode 2, the water tested high for chlorine. Pujol says that is often time the case when too much chlorine is added to treat the raw water.

“The more chlorine they pump in, the more likely it is that they’re going to create these THMs,” adds Pujol, “because of the treatment by chlorine and other disinfectants, it is ultimately a cancer-causing contaminant.”

The goal of the U.S. public water system infrastructure is to have no bromoform in the water. In the case of Ballinger, there were six parts-per-billion. Pujol admits that is a small amount, but it is measurable.

“In a perfect world, you’d like to have none.”

The investigative team asked Pujol if the residents should be worried about their water. And while he admits no one will keel over and die from the water imminently, he doesn’t have high hopes for the future of the water quality.

“I'd say that there's not a lot of hope to see a quick solution,” says Pujol, “I also say that while buying bottled water is more expensive, it is probably higher quality if it's purchased from a name brand, and it'll probably taste better.”

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