SAWS to stop using Medina Lake as water source

‘Unhealthy’ organic compounds polluting drinking water as lake levels drop

Water will no longer be drawn from Medina Lake as part of San Antonio’s drinking water supply, San Antonio Water System officials said Monday.

The utility cited "unhealthy levels of organic compounds" in the lake as the reason for the move.

“The historically low levels of the lake have basically meant that the water has really stopped moving an aerating,” said Anne Hayden, of SAWS. “That allows for UV rays from the sun to create these harmful organic compounds that we don’t want in San Antonio’s drinking water.”

Hayden said a limited amount of those compounds can be filtered out when treating potable drinking water, but current levels at the lake have gotten too high for that process to work.

“We’ve been aware of this problem for a while, so we’ve been planning for it on our end for some time,” Hayden said.

The loss in drinking water from Medina Lake will be made up by pulling the water from Edwards Aquifer, officials said.

The utility had been mixing the water from the two for a few months to ensure quality of drinking water.

The move is not necessarily permanent, however.

If the lake water level rises dramatically, SAWS could once again tap the once voluminous lake for drinking water.

But with another dry summer looming, officials said that would not happen for some time.

For a list of recent stories Matt Rivers has done, click here.


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