Published: February 23, 2016

    Texas Town Inundated with Black Drinking Water After City Officials Arrested

    It hasn’t been the best couple of months for Crystal City, Texas. The town is currently without its top city officials after the mayor, mayor pro tempore, the city manager, and a city council member were all arrested and charged this month for conspiracy and bribery in dealing with city funds. In addition, a different city council member is serving time in a federal detention center upon admitting to smuggling undocumented migrant workers across the Texas border.

    In the midst of a frightening lack of authority figures or regulatory bodies in Crystal City a drinking water quality crisis is rapidly unfolding. Murky, smelly black water began spewing from residents’ faucets last week, leaving citizens vexed and frustrated. The absence of city officials translates to a longer period of time determining the cause of the foul drinking water and finding a solution.

    In an interview with KSAT, Imelda Allen, a local school superintendent, explained that she felt responsible to oversee efforts to correct the problem as soon as the black drinking water started coming out of the pipes. “Right now, there’s not really anyone in charge to oversee and to make people aware of the condition of the water,” she said, referring to the city officials’ current legal battles and detainment.

    The water consistency and color has been compared to crude oil by Crystal City residents who have flooded social media with compelling and distressing images of the drinking water to raise awareness of their plight. Allen went ahead and ordered hand sanitizer and bottled water for the schools in the district. She also trucked in massive five-gallon jugs of clean water for use in the schools’ cafeterias.

    On Thursday the local city government (or whatever is left of it presently) released a statement regarding the source of the black drinking water. In their statement officials blamed the Wednesday draining of the city’s elevated tank, claiming that deposits of sediments that had accumulated in the bottom of the tank leaked out to distribution lines during the draining.

    The officials insisted that they had not anticipated the darkening of the water during what they claim is a long overdue renovation of the city’s water tank system. Residents were not relieved, demanding an explanation why they were not alerted ahead of time that the draining would take place.

    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) sent a team of investigators to test for bacteria and toxins in the black drinking water. The San Antonio Express-News reports that state environmental regulators warned Crystal City residents to boil all water before consumption, and to not consume any discolored water.

    TCEQ media relations manager Andrea Morrow told CNN that any reports that the water is safe to drink should be ignored until an official statement could be released from TCEQ. “While the most recent samples testing for water pressure, chlorination, and bacteria have come back in the acceptable range, we would like to wait until we have the complete suite of sample results back until we can give the all-clear,” she said. “In the meantime, we would still urge residents not to drink discolored water and to boil city water before drinking it.”

    Drinking water quality is of paramount importance – drinking unsafe water can lead to a host of medical maladies and infection from dangerous contaminants. If you’re concerned about the quality of your drinking water, contact a Pelican Water specialist today to discuss options of filtration systems for your home.