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Boil, boil, toil & trouble
by Gary Kent
Nov 14, 2013 | 104 views | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE – Michael Lentz, superintendent of the George P. Morrill, I Water Treatment Plant at Swinney Switch, said Tuesday that he was expecting to issue an all-clear notice to city water users within hours.

“We’re putting out good water,” said one city water department employee Tuesday afternoon.

However, the city had not yet received permission to issue a notice to utility customers that they may disregard recent warnings to boil water before drinking it.

City water customers have received two notices regarding drinking water problems in recent days.

The first notice was for higher-than-acceptable levels of tryhalomethane, which is considered a health hazard by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Water users were assured the city was working on the problem by increasing the flushing of the distribution system, reviewing the chlorination process and remaining in touch with representatives of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The second notice, issued after tests failed to meet technical requirements on Nov. 6, involved elevated turbidity levels in the water.

“To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, any water that you use for drinking, cooking or making ice should be boiled prior to consumption,” the notice directed.

The notice led to some restaurants using paper plates and plastic glasses when serving customers.

The city urged all water system customers to bring water to a vigorous, rolling boil and maintain that for two minutes before consuming the water.

Lentz said Tuesday afternoon that the city was expecting to notify residents that the boiling notice had been lifted, possibly as early as Tuesday evening.

He was awaiting notification from the TCEQ that it was all right to lift the boiling water requirement.

Lentz has blamed part of the city’s recent water quality problems on the influx of rain water flowing down the Nueces River into Lake Corpus Christi.

The water influx resulted from rainfall north of the intake structure in the Uvalde area.

The water has filled Lake Corpus Christi to 100 percent of capacity for the first time in years.

Lentz said dirtier water is easier to treat than the cleaner water now coming into the lake.

Chemicals used to remove solids from the water allow them to “clump” together so they can be filtered out more easily.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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