More than inconvenience
by Chip Latcham
Dec 04, 2013 | 316 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This is getting ridiculous.

For the second time in a little more than two weeks, our citizens did not have drinkable water available at home or work.

An automated message was sent out Tuesday morning, notifying residents to boil water before using it and adding that the city is experiencing “pressure and supply difficulties at the (Morrill treatment) plant (at Swinney Switch).”

This announcement caused classes to be canceled that morning and again Wednesday in the Beeville ISD, St. Mary’s Academy Charter School and Coastal Bend College and students sent home. Cafeterias and restrooms were unable to be used, making for unsanitary conditions.

It also resulted in the closure of some businesses, particularly restaurants. And port-a-potties were brought in to the courthouse grounds to accommodate court proceedings scheduled there Tuesday.

County and school officials were not apprised of the situation until they got to work, or like most citizens, around 9 a.m. when they started receiving the robocalls.

That evening a follow-up message said the city was working to correct the low pressure issue and expected minimal water pressure by Wednesday morning; however, the boil water alert remained in effect

Back on Nov. 14, city residents were notified that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality had allowed the last water boiling notice to be lifted.

The problems with the city’s water started when the TCEQ found high levels of trihalomethanes in the water being pumped to the city. High levels of those contaminants could result in health problems.

On Nov. 6, residents were warned that they should heat any water they plan to consume to a “vigorous rolling boil” for two minutes before using it. According to a TCEQ notice, that problem was caused when the state agency found high turbidity in the water.

At that time, interim City Manager Marvin Townsend said in no city should residents have to receive “boil water” notices. Both newcomers and longtime citizens would agree vehemently. This reflects poorly on this community.

We encourage Townsend and officials at City Hall to do everything possible to alleviate any future problems – evaluating personnel and taking steps to prevent water line breaks and pumps and filtration problems at the plant.

It’s now costing our students and teachers valuable days of education, some businesses are losing money, and emergency workers at the hospital and fire department have to be alarmed.

This past month makes a solid case for diversified water sources to meet Beeville’s needs. Relying solely on any one source exposes the community to a catastrophic failure.

How long will it take before Beeville can drill some wells to have an adequate source to supplement our surface water system?
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