Austin, TX


Austin, TX

The City of Austin is home to an estimated 950,715 residents, and it’s located in Travis County, TX.

This report will help you become better acquainted with Austin and the surrounding area by addressing the following questions:

  • Are there any hazardous sites in Travis County, TX?
  • How clean is the air in Travis County, TX?
  • What’s the average radon level for homes in Travis County, TX?
  • Is the water in Travis County, TX safe to drink?

Hazardous Sites near Austin, TX

There are no Superfund sites in Travis County, TX. Superfund sites are areas that have been contaminated with hazardous substances. If not for the cleanup efforts orchestrated by the EPA, these sites could endanger people living in nearby communities.

The EPA uses the Hazardous Ranking System (HRS) to quantify the risk a contaminated site poses to human health and the environment. Sites assigned HRS scores of 28.5 or greater qualify for placement on the National Priorities List (NPL), and are eligible to receive federal funding for cleanup efforts.

Before the EPA deletes a site from the NPL, it conducts reviews to ensure the cleanup was sufficient. As a result, some sites remain on the active site list long after cleanup activities are complete.

Fortunately, there are no NPL sites in Travis County, TX. If you would like to learn the location of the nearest Superfund site, check out our free Hazardous Site Locator.

Air Quality in the Austin, TX Area

The two most widespread forms of air pollution are ozone (smog) and particle pollution (soot). Exposure to these harmful pollutants, for even just a short period, can have adverse effects on your health.

Thanks to data collected by air monitoring equipment located across the country, the American Lung Association (ALA) is able to assess and track our air quality using three metrics:

  • Ozone
  • Short-term Particle Pollution
  • Year-round Particle Pollution

In their 2019 annual report, the ALA rated the air quality in Travis County, TX as follows:

Ground-Level
Ozone Pollution

Grading Scale: A-F

Short-Term
Particle Pollution

Grading Scale: A-F

Year-Round
Particle Pollution

Grading Scale: Pass/Fail

Radon Levels in Austin, TX Area

Air quality inside your home can be impacted by a number of factors, including the presence of hazardous substances in building materials (asbestos, lead, formaldehyde, etc.) and local radon levels.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas you cannot see or smell. It can build up inside your home and negatively impact your indoor air quality as well as your health.

To provide a guideline, the EPA assigned one of three zones to each U.S. county and county equivalent:

  • Zone 1 (higher radon levels)
  • Zone 2 (moderate levels)
  • Zone 3 (lower levels)

The average indoor radon reading in Travis County, TX is predicted to be less than 2 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), so the county has been assigned EPA Radon Zone 3.

EPA Radon Zone

But, it's worth mentioning homes with elevated levels of radon have been found in all three radon zones. So, despite the fact Austin, TX is in EPA Radon Zone 3, you should have a radon test performed on any home you purchase in the area.

Water Quality in Austin, TX Area

In accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the EPA sets regulatory limits for drinking water contaminants known to cause adverse health effects.

The following Travis County, TX water provider(s) violated the maximum allowable level for one or more regulated contaminants:

Filter ValueWater SystemContaminantHealth Effects
48453Barton Creek WSCTTHMLiver, kidney, or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer 
48453City of Lago VistaTTHMLiver, kidney, or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer 
48453City of ManorFluorideBone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones); children may get mottled teeth 
48453Deer Creek WaterTTHMLiver, kidney, or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer 
48453Draper Estates Water SystemFluorideBone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones); children may get mottled teeth 
48453High Valley WSCFluorideBone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones); children may get mottled teeth 
48453Hill Country Northwest Cherry HollowGross Alpha, Excl. Radon and UIncreased risk of cancer
48453Inverness Point Water SystemTTHMLiver, kidney, or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer 
48453Loop 360 WSCTTHMLiver, kidney, or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer 
48453Malone Addition Water SupplyFluorideBone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones); children may get mottled teeth 
48453Mystic Oaks WaterFluorideBone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones); children may get mottled teeth 
48453Nighthawk WSCNitrateInfants 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. 
48453Oak Shores Water SystemFluorideBone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones); children may get mottled teeth 
48453Oak Shores Water SystemTotal Haloacetic Acids (HAA5)Increased risk of cancer 
48453Oak Shores Water SystemTTHMLiver, kidney, or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer 
48453Onion Creek MeadowsFluorideBone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones); children may get mottled teeth 
48453Sail HavenTTHMLiver, kidney, or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer 
48453Slaughter Creek AcresFluorideBone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones); children may get mottled teeth 
48453St Stephens Episcopal SchoolFluorideBone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones); children may get mottled teeth 
48453Travis County MUD 10Total Haloacetic Acids (HAA5)Increased risk of cancer 
48453Travis County MUD 10TTHMLiver, kidney, or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer 
48453Travis County WCID 17TTHMLiver, kidney, or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer 
48453Travis County WCID 18TTHMLiver, kidney, or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer 
48453Travis County WCID 19TTHMLiver, kidney, or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer 
48453Travis County WCID 20Total Haloacetic Acids (HAA5)Increased risk of cancer 
48453Travis County WCID 20TTHMLiver, kidney, or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer 
48453Travis County WCID Point VentureTotal Haloacetic Acids (HAA5)Increased risk of cancer 
48453Travis County WCID Point VentureTTHMLiver, kidney, or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer 
48453Village of BriarcliffTotal Haloacetic Acids (HAA5)Increased risk of cancer 
48453Village of BriarcliffTTHMLiver, kidney, or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer 
48453Village of San LeannaFluorideBone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones); children may get mottled teeth 

In addition to setting enforceable standards for harmful contaminants, the EPA also established guidelines to assist public water providers in managing the taste, odor and color of their drinking water.

To find out more about what’s in your drinking water, contact your utility company and request a copy of the latest Consumer Confidence Report.


Sources and Methods

Hazardous Sites: Identified using a report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hazardous sites detailed on trendingtowns.com represent sites contained on the National Priorities List (NPL) as of November 25, 2019.  The NPL is the list of national priorities among the known releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants throughout the United States and its territories.  All site-related data was sourced from the EPA.

Air Quality: Grades for ozone, short-term particle pollution, and year-round particle pollution were obtained from State of the Air 2019, a report compiled by the American Lung Association.

Radon Zones: Radon zone designations were obtained using a public use dataset provided by the EPA (September 11, 2019).

Water Quality: Drinking water violation data was sourced from the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS), a public use database provided by the EPA.  The dataset included violations submitted to the database as of the third quarter of 2019.

Paul

I’ve moved several times over the years, so I know just how stressful it can be to relocate. I want to help put your mind at ease. That’s why I research and write about all the things I think you should consider when moving to a new town.

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