Austin's water is tainted. It's taken from the lower Colorado River (Lady Bird Lake) and is minimally treated and sent to our homes. In it you have sewage, oil-field runoff, cotton and cornfield runoff, parking lot runoff, and chemical plant discharge.
Austin Water only tests for basic chemistry and only 2 pesticides. The EPA database shows that in 2015, Austin had the highest levels of the herbicide paraquat in the nation. It was measured to be 450 times the national average however they aren't required to report this or do any further testing.
Eight other cancer-causing byproducts of chloride disinfection are over the health guidelines. There's also a hazardous level of radium and an "acceptable" amount of lead that's a result of the 1000's of fracking wells upstream.*
At this point, there are no comprehensive testing results for pesticides, herbicides or volatile organic compounds. Pharmaceuticals end up being flushed through our bodies and down the drain and 1end up in our water too. Enough is enough, right?!
Our goal in the first phase is testing is to test for 50 of the most common pesticides and all common herbicides. Each test is around $220 for each class of pollutants. We want to collect many samples from different households that are fed from the handful of water treatment plants at different times of the year. The level of runoff is the highest during heavy rains when chemicals are washed out of farm fields. Other tests can be during droughts when toxic brine is released from reservoirs in the Permian Oil Basin.
Every little bit helps and all funds will go into water testing kits initially. Data collection, publicity, and legal fees will be needed later. We encourage those who can afford it to test their own water however many of us can't or don't know how so this a group effort.
We have created a map of the oil basins that intersect the Colorado River watershed and also have the Google Earth map that shows all of the current sewage, chemical, an nuclear waste outflows including the controversial proposed Dripping Springs waste treatment plant which we also oppose because it flows into the aquifer recharge zone.
Neil's Google Earth map on Wikinews
Anetek labs, certified EPA reference water testing: http://www.anateklabs.com/pesticides/
Dr. Mercola: 85% of All Food in U.S. Now Contaminated: Toxic Pesticides Also Found in Drinking Water
Texas Monthly: The War for the Colorado
Texas Monthly: How West Texas Became Woodstock for Frackers
*Permian Basin oil wells actually produce more heavy-metal contaminated brine than oil. The "produced water" left to evaporate in open pools or moved either by truck or pipeline to processing facilities that have outfalls into the Colorado watershed. Don't believe us? Take a look at Google Earth.
About the founder: I grew up in a rural protected wilderness area along the Illinois River Valley in Peoria County with a strong connection to nature and the environment. The water for the community came from an aquifer and was free of all contamination. It was not treated in any way (no chlorine or fluorine) or metered. I has never broken a major bone or had any cavities. No bottled water compares to an endless supply of pure ice cold water straight from the tap.