“Safe Water Project” launches to research colonias drinking water

McAllen, Texas (ValleyCentral) — New projects are underway in the Valley to bring safe drinking water to communities in need.

The Methodist Department of Health Care and the Texas A&M School of Public Health are working on the Safe Water Project.

Jaime Wesolowski, president and CEO of Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, said they decided to undertake the project after learning about the colony’s contaminated water.

“I learned through Texas A&M University that many of the colonies have water that they use as clean water, but it is laced with arsenic, uranium and other contaminants,” Wesolowski said. increase.

He added that arsenic and heavy metal contamination will be the focus of research.

“Continued exposure to higher levels of arsenic causes cancer and heart disease. And for children, it affects their developmental abilities,” he said.

Although this is their first time conducting research in the valley, the researchers have experience in research.

“We’ve done some similar research, and we’ve done research in other parts of Texas. So we’ve done quite a bit of work in the Houston area environmental justice community. We also looked at the Hays County area,” said Garrett Sansom, an assistant professor at the Texas A&M School of Public Health.

Sansom is also the project lead.

He explained that some community partners are supporting the project, but community participation is also needed.

“I think it’s one of the hardest first spots, but the fun part is this first community engagement work. and it is a more ethical way to improve the discipline itself,” Sansom said.

Sansom said the research is being conducted in two private colonies.

The plan is to have the data ready by the fall of 2024, and the goal is to reach out to local and state legislatures in hopes of receiving funding by 2025 to complete the project and bring clean water to the colonies. It’s about getting attention.

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