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Burkburnett Warns of Dangerous Nitrate Contamination Levels in City Water Supply

City of Burkburnett water treatment and distribution
City of Burkburnett water treatment and distribution

Burkburnett water bills have long carried a warning to pregnant women concerning the drinking water. Fertilizers, human and animal waste can all be contributors to nitrates in ground water supplies.

KFDX is reporting that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has warned that contamination levels for nitrates have exceeded the maximum levels.

Burkburnett City Manager Mike Whaley released the following statement on the matter:

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has notified PWS# TX2430005 the City of Burkburnett water system that the drinking water being supplied to customers had exceeded the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for nitrate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has established the MCL for nitrate at 10 milligrams per liter (mg/L) based on a single sample, and has determined that it is a health concern at levels above the MCL. Analysis of drinking water in your community for nitrate indicates a compliance value in quarter three 2017 of 17 mg/L.


Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrate in excess of the MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome. If your child is under the age of six months, the child must be given an alternative water supply for any consumption. Boiling the affected water is not an effective treatment for nitrate removal.


Most consumers do not need to use an alternative water supply. However, if you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor to get more information about how this may affect you. At this time, the health effects to fetuses of pregnant women are unclear. If you are pregnant, you may also choose to use an alternative source of water for drinking and cooking purposes.


We are taking the following actions to address this issue:

The City of Burkburnett monitors the level of nitrate daily at the ion exchange water treatment plant. All internal sampling concludes the City’s potable water nitrate levels are well below the 10 mg/L MCL. The TCEQ samples the City’s potable water supply quarterly. There is some discrepancy between our daily testing and the samples taken by TCEQ. It is of high importance to the City of Burkburnett that the community’s ground water be treated for nitrate removal to the very best levels achievable. For this reason, the City of Burkburnett has taken an additional sample for nitrate levels to the Red River Authority of Texas Environmental Laboratory to ensure compliance.


The City hopes to have the results back from the laboratory by Wednesday of this week and will release that information to the public as soon as possible. The City of Burkburnett is committed to producing the highest quality of drinking water and will continue to monitor the nitrate levels closely to ensure compliance with Federal and State drinking water standards. If you are in the recommended category of consumers that require an alternate water source, we ask that you simply bring in your receipt of purchase to City Hall 501 Sheppard Rd, for reimbursement.

Please share this information with all people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (i.e., people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.


If you have questions regarding this matter, you may contact Mike Whaley, City Manager, or Lawrence Cutrone, Director of Public Works, at (940) 569-2263

Click here for info on Burkburnett’s water treatment and distribution processes.

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