Harris County MUD 345 Arsenic Levels

Prior to living in our neighborhood, I served my community in northwest Houston for the past ten years on various boards like my Civic Association and the school PTO. In those communities and adjacent ones, neighbors worked together to advocate for the community’s best interests.

It is in that spirit of working together for the benefit of everyone that I am writing to you now.

The short version is that MUD 345 has higher arsenic levels (9.7parts per billion) than the City of Houston water supply (2ppb) and also of other MUDs on the same aquifer as we are on (e.g. MUD 365 is at 3.2ppb).

Since MUD 345, Green Trails MUD, West Park MUD, Longhorn Town MUD and MUD 216 all have or have recently had agreements for emergency interconnects (e.g. Green Trails MUD received water from MUD 345 during their tank repairs), the quality of water in one MUD affects residents in other MUDs.

If this concerns you, please plan to share your concerns with the board by attending the next meeting on June 19 at 12pm at 1300 Post Oak Blvd, Suite 2500 Houston, TX 77056 or by emailing the board, care of Kate Henderson, the lawyer for MUD345, at khenderson@sphllp.com. If you also send me a copy or CC me, I will print out the emails I receive and deliver them to the meeting. 

The longer version:

The levels in MUD 345 have skirted just below the EPA maximum (10ppb) for years but in August the reading exceeded the EPA maximum. Houston having less arsenic is understandable since they are on surface water, but we should be able to have as little arsenic as other MUDs that use the same aquifer.

As a result of learning this information, I began attending the board meetings of MUD 345.

These meetings are held once a month, 18 miles away in the Galleria, at noon during the work week. There is no virtual option.

In January 2023 Inframark, the company contracted by MUD 345 to operate our facilities, reported to the board that they received notice (dated September 2022) that the levels of arsenic in our water exceeded the EPA maximum of 10 parts per billion in a sample dated August 4, 2022.

As a result of the August reading, TCEQ is now requiring that MUD 345 arsenic levels be tested quarterly as opposed to yearly.

But it is also important to point out that as long as the “running annual average of all samples taken during the preceding twelve months” does not exceed the EPA maximum, they are not legally required to notify the community about water quality levels (with the quarterly tests, the average has so far stayed below the EPA maximum and no legal requirement to notify exists).

At this point, it is unclear when a MUD like Harris County MUD 345 would be required to take action to reduce arsenic levels. But changes could be made without being legally required to do so.

I am writing this summary in order for you and our other neighbors to be aware of the potentially dangerous arsenic situation in the water supply to your home and to encourage you to learn more.

The MUD 345 board has agreed to add to the June agenda a discussion on what can be done to improve the arsenic levels in our water. The Harris County MUD 345 board of directors meets on the 3rd Monday at 12pm at 1300 Post Oak Blvd, Suite 2500 Houston, TX 77056. For June it will be on June 19.

The possible options for the MUD 345 board to consider to address this dangerous situation include:

  • Obtain new source of water
  • Blending
  • Treatment via
    • Precipitation
    • Adsorption
    • Ion exchange
    • Membrane filtration

In preparation for the meeting, I strongly encourage you to learn more and to share your concerns by attending the June 19 MUD 345 board meeting.

If you can not attend the June 19 MUD 345 board meeting, please share your views with the five board members who represent your interest in the health and vitality of our neighborhood.

Please feel free to share your thoughts with our neighbors, either in person or via emailing the board care of Kate Henderson, the lawyer for MUD 345, at khenderson@sphllp.com. If you also send me a copy or CC me, I will print out the emails I receive and deliver them to the meeting. 

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