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Jul 7, 2011 5:40 AM

News 4 investigates toxic water in Tucson

TUCSON - As scarce as water is here in our desert, some of what we do have is harmful, even toxic.

That's due to arsenic that gets into the soil, and seeps into the groundwater naturally, through rocks, and through the powdery residue left by some mining operations.

Scientists say that arsenic triggers cancer and heart defects in lab animals.

But researches at the U-of-A may have a solution to protect you from this threat.

They're doing research at the former 'Iron King' mine, near Prescott.

Led by Professor Raina Maier, they've remarkably found a way to grow plants in the contaminated soil near the mine. Soil packed with arsenic from over 70 years of mining.

The first plants they've installed are starting to grow form a protective cover. Cutting down on blowing arsenic dust, and helping keep the arsenic from seeping down into groundwater.

That's especially critical if you get your water from a well, the source of most arsenic water contamination.

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