U.S. Water News Online
HEMPHILL, Texas -- State environmental officials say
drinking water in a large reservoir along the Texas-Louisiana border
has not been significantly contaminated by debris from the space
shuttle Columbia that reportedly fell into it.
Officials with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said
after an analysis that there was not enough hazardous material aboard
the shuttle to contaminate the 185,000-acre Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Among the debris is a piece described as about the size of a small
``It would take large amounts of chemicals'' to harm a body of
water that large, TCEQ spokesman Andy Saenz told the Houston
Chronicle. ``We do not believe that debris from the space shuttle
Columbia could contaminate the lake's use as a public water supply.''
The Sunday following the shuttle disaster, a bass tournament there
occurred on schedule, according to Toledo Town Tackle in Many, La.
Law enforcement officers with Jasper, Newton and Sabine counties,
tipped off by a fisherman, scoured the reservoir with sonar equipment
and underwater cameras but found no debris.
But concern over water quality prompted local officials to press
the state environmental agency to validate the safety of the water.
The worries came as NASA continued warning people not to touch or
go near pieces of the space craft because they could be contaminated
with poisonous rocket fuels.
The Environmental Protection Agency will continue to monitor air
and water quality as part of its investigation, spokesman Joe Martyak
Saenz said the contamination risk to private wells is very low.
Meanwhile, the drinking water plant in the city of Many remained
shut down. Mayor Ken Freeman, who ordered the closure Saturday
morning, said he would not lift the suspension until after a test of
the water Monday by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
``I am sure it is fine, but I am going to err on the side of
caution,'' Freeman said. ``I have backup water wells that will meet
all our water needs.''
Return to the
U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.