Sep 04, 2007

Texas Accuses City of 13 Water Violations

The state of Texas handed out a notification with 13 alleged violations to the Corpus Christi water treatment system. One of the violations came from not notifying the public within 24 hours that fecal bacteria had been found in water samples.

According to the Caller Times, the violations stem from an investigation of the Corpus Christi water system July 19 through Aug. 13, when the city issued two boil-water advisories. The first alert was related to detection of low disinfectant levels, while the second came after water samples tested positive for fecal bacteria including E. coli. The violations have been outlined in a report from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The commission reports that its enforcement division will now consider whether the violations warrant fines, leading to an ongoing City Council investigation.

The Caller Times reports that a council investigation panel will review the commission report, assess the infrastructure of the water treatment and distribution system and analyze policies and procedures including how information is communicated up the chain and to the public. The city is also considering hiring an outside firm to handle the investigation.

The city had previously been notified of two of the 13 alleged violations. In May, the city received notice of a violation related to non-regulated discharge of wastewater into an open ditch, which drained into Oso Creek. Then, in December, a notice of violation was sent out regarding low disinfectant levels.

City Manager Skip Noe claims that he doesn't recall any previous notifications.

Former water superintendent Eduardo Garaña resigned after the second boil notice. Assistant water superintendent, Danny Ybarra, took over the post, and then was suspended last week after he revealed that he had not immediately alerted them the water had tested positive for fecal bacteria.