HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Kindergarten teacher Richell Powell will wash the dishes in her tap water, but she won't drink or cook with it. Not since her mom died of extremely rare paranasal sinus cancer. For Melanie Candoll Green the end came quickly after her diagnosis.
"February 2010, she was gone Valentine's Day 2011...so about eleven months."she says.
Now her sister has breast cancer and her dog "Shine" suffers from seizures. She doesn't believe any of this is coincidental.
She lives in the Chasewood subdivision. There are 401 homes here and a stunning number of cancer cases and cancer deaths. She and others here know that as recently as 2010, their water had radiation levels higher than the law allows. She and many others here believe the water is to blame.
"What's happened out here is unacceptable. It infuriates me to know that people have suffered." says Steve Brown.
The District 27 candidate is making this a huge campaign issue. He's putting together environmental experts to get to the bottom of this.
"The Sierra Club, the Environmental defense Fund, Texas Public citizen, a number of organizations that have the demonstrated capacity to develop policy that might meet the needs of the area out here." he says.
Brown and the residents out here have no idea how long people were drinking radioactive water, where the radioactivity came from, or how many people have developed cancer. At the time, the people say there were getting their water from the Blue Ridge Mud. After annexation by Houston tests revealed the radioactivity, the water source changed...eventually.
The TCEQ says they first learned about the radioactive water in March of 2010. They didn't stop using that well until November of 2010.
Why did it take eight months? And who is ultimately to blame?
"I'd like answers. My family would like answers." says Powell.