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Texans find groundwater is just a little too fizzy

Jerry McCullough first noticed a problem this summer when his water hose began jumping around wildly as bubbles of gas came through the lines.

"I took a candle to see what kind of gas came out and it was a blowtorch," he said. "You can light my hose - physically light it," McCullough said.He called the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, Galveston County and the Texas Railroad Commission. State and local officials tested his wells and confirmed the presence of methane, ethane and propane in the groundwater.

Based on those results, county health officials issued a warning to 150 area property owners. They were advised to consider using bottled water for drinking and cooking if their well water appears milky or ignites, The Brazosport Facts newspaper reported Monday.

Possible sources for the contamination include a large oil field just south of McCullough's house, a gas pipeline in the area and a nearby landfill. He lives outside Alvin, about 25 miles south of Houston.