During the GCGCD’s Jan. 21 meeting, Kozielski addressed the Advance-Guard’s editor during open session, claiming a story that appeared in the Jan. 16 edition on how the GCGCD was going to notify residents of high arsenic levels in drinking water in the southern part of the county could prevent him from selling property in the area.
“I can’t sell my property now that you put it in the paper,” Kozielski said in reference to the story.
A visibly upset Kozielski later held a copy of the Jan. 16 Advance-Guard in his hand and slammed it to the table.
The Advance-Guard did not attend the Jan. 7 meeting, but obtained the GCGCD’s audio recording of the meeting.
In October, a concerned citizen furnished the Advance-Guard a spreadsheet of information detailing the results of water tests throughout the county. The Advance-Guard emailed a copy of the spreadsheet to GCGCD secretary/treasurer Barbara Smith to verify if the test results were accurate.
The GCGCD placed it on its agenda for the Jan. 21 meeting to discuss the spreadsheet of information received from the Advance-Guard. Board members questioned why the Advance-Guard was seeking to obtain the water test results.
The results are public information and any statements made during open session at government meetings is
public information under the Open Meetings Act.
County residents had contacted the Advance-Guard to voice their concerns about what they perceived as the GCGCD’s slow response to the high arsenic levels.
During the Jan. 7 meeting, GCGCD board member John Dreier said, “Since they’ve been drinking it for a number of years and hadn’t ... nobody croaked out there for that.”
“How can you say that?” GCGCD President Art Dohmann immediately asked Dreier. “Arsenic is carcinogenic. A big enough dose will kill you immediately, but, otherwise, it’s going to affect you over time.”
Dreier warned the Advance-Guard’s editor at the Jan. 21 meeting of possible repercussions if the Advance-Guard released the test results.
“How you’re going to publish that may be an interesting thing,” Dreier said. “You may decide, ‘I may really want to let this dog sleep.’”
Dreier did not elaborate about what he meant by the statement.
Dohmann said at the Jan. 21 meeting that most of the drinking water in the county fails EPA arsenic standards set for municipal systems and, unlike municipal water, is untreated and unfiltered. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and EPA have no jurisdiction to enforce water standards for private wells.
Board member Raulie Irwin said the GCGCD had been discussing options of how to inform the public of the high arsenic levels for the past six months.
The GCGCD unanimously voted at the Jan. 21 meeting to mail out informational packets to landowners and residents in the areas where high arsenic levels have been detected.