UTEP study finds high levels of arsenic and E.coli in Vinton water system

UTEP study finds high levels of arsenic and E.coli in Vinton water system

POSTED: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 7:34pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 7:35pm

After years of drinking and cooking with bottled water and residents complaining of hurting stomachs, Village of Vintaon leaders are looking for answers and help. A lack of a sewer or water system in the Village of Vinton is taking its toll.

"Their pipes are too old or a septic tank is broken and it's releasing contaminants and families are being at risk,"said UTEP researcher Patricia M. Juarez-Carrillo, MPJ, PhD.

UTEP researchers tested wells and septic tanks last summer and found everything from traces of salt to arsenic and E. coli, possibly causing symptoms in Vinton residents.

"Gastrointestinal problems and maybe in the future cancer. Children being returned from school or missing school because of that," said Juarez-Carrillo.

20% to 30% of participants reported illnesses and just how much Arsenic and E.coli was found? Well enough for researchers to suggest that Vinton connect to El Paso Water Utilities for water and sewer.

The standard for drinking water is 10 parts of arsenic per one billion parts of water. The study found the average household in Vinton has 13.3. Arsenic and E.coli could also cause skin rashes and infections.

"Filter their water and to also boil it because we found about 14% of the households resulted with total Coliform and E.coli," said Juarez-Carrillo.

The study also found that septic tanks in the area overflow and could be harmful.

"Contamination from waste water of fecal material from animals," said Juarez-Carrillo.

The new village council is now applying for funds to install a new water and sewer system, but Vinton's mayor says it could take up to three to four years before the installation would be complete.

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