City must take action to protect water quality

Jan. 16, 2014 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 15, 2014 at 7:16 p.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

Once again, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has Palacios in its sights.

A few years ago, TCEQ issued a warning to Palacios to fix up its deteriorating water and sewer systems. Now, the state agency has issued the city a notice of violations of the required monitoring and reporting requirements set by the agency concerning coliform (E. coli) in its drinking water.

According to the state, Texas law requires cities to keep a record of microbial contamination in its drinking water. E. coli itself can cause a variety of symptoms and can cause death in susceptible populations.

What do these chronic violations have to do with the city besides threatening the health of its citizens? Well, the economic development committee should be very worried about the health of the water supply because developers usually research things like a city's ability to provide microbe-free water. And chronic abuse by a city's water and sewer division can mean that developers won't be able to peddle their lots. That can throw a wrench into the best economic development plans.

Chronic violations can also mean restaurants will lose business. Customers will not want to drink city water that has a reputation for chronic microbe contamination. Restaurants may be forced to serve their customers bottled water, and that adds to their costs of doing business.

So it is time to hold the Palacios City Council responsible for allowing the chronic contamination to continue. It's time for the city to give a progress report on all the repair work it has done supposedly to address the TCEQ violations issued a few years ago.

It is time for a public meeting to be organized with the council, the manager and the engineers - a meeting with appropriate maps, progress reports and a written meeting announcement to be enclosed with the monthly water and sewer bills.

Polly Hearn, Palacios



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