Flint-Level Lead in Water at Texas State Living Centers

The elevated lead levels at three state living centers for the disabled have prompted calls from advocates to test the residents for possible damage from the poisoned water.

By Alain StephensMay 17, 2016 10:42 am

Disabled Texans in three state homes have been drinking water with Flint-level amounts of lead – the headline from the Dallas Morning News on new state reports that found unsafe levels of lead in the water of facilities in Brenham, San Angelo, and El Paso.

These findings have prompted officials at the Brenham facility to hand out bottled water to those living and working at the facility. Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, along with the Texas Department of State Health Services, are wondering if people should be screened for long-term exposure to hazardous material.

Dennis Borel, head of the Coalition of Texans With Disabilities, says the findings are shocking. In Brenham, studies found the water had 15 times the maximum acceptable level of lead.

“That’s why we’re calling on the state to screen all the residents and the staff … to see if there’s any effects of this elevated level of lead,” he says.

In 2014, lead was found in the water at the Austin state-supported living center. Then, Flint happened.

“Now, as a society, we have an elevated awareness that lead concentration in drinking water is an extremely serious condition, and we need to treat it seriously,” he says. “I’m calling on DADS, the Department of Aging and Disability Services, to respond not just with bottled water. Let’s see if there’s any damage that’s been done to these residents.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– Why another state agency cited the Brenham facility for not testing their water after the 2014 lead incident in Austin

– What infrastructure issues these facilities have had and why it make make sense for them to close

– How the facilities have lost 75 percent of their residents and why costs to care for their residents have skyrocketed