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Locals react to city-wide boil water notice

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 10:01 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Back in 2019, the TCEQ visited the gateway city and conducted an internal and external investigation after a boil water notice.

They reportedly discussed disinfection issues and what the city should be doing in the future.

Despite all of this, many Laredoans demand answers as to why it happened once again.

For the second time in less than three years, the city is back under a boil water notice.

Many of the people KGNS spoke to can’t wrap their heads around the fact we are in the same position once again, and with city leaders rather tight-lipped about the situation, the question remains... why does this keep happening?

“It’s disappointing that we have to do this again. I think we’re the tenth largest city in Texas and for a city of our size to continue to have these problems is very unfortunate and very disappointing.”

Like many other Laredoans, “Rick” rushed to the store Monday morning to purchase what is likely to become a hot commodity in the city: bottled water.

The latest warning from the TCEQ follows the 2019 boil water notice that took over a month to resolve.

“More attention needs to be taken by the people who run the water plant, because they need to be checking the chlorine levels so the water can be consumed,” said Pedro Suztaeta.

Initially, the boil water notice covered areas of the southeast and part of the Chacon neighborhood, now it’s city-wide. Officials who were expecting to have the day off because of the holiday are now expected to meet in City Hall and determine what to do next and how they’re going to answer these mounting questions.

“I’m hoping our leadership will do something about the problem so we don’t have to go through this again,” said “Rick.” “We’re going from one crisis to another to another to another.... and now we’re having to go back to buying bottled water.”

Blanca Erika Burgos has been the manager at Taco Mais for six years and says the restaurant learned from the previous boil water notice how to stay afloat.

She says, “Everything we use for cooking- we have our own water filtration system. For other things like cleaning we use regular water. So, we’re not experiencing any problems. Last time, we had to boil everything.”

For regular shoppers, the quest is on as stores limit the amounts that can be purchased with some fearing it might impact other necessities.

“I had to all my sister in San Antonio to say, ‘hey, buy me 5 cases up there’ and she’s just kind of wondering why, and then she said, ‘oh yeah, it has something to do with the chlorine levels, the heat, because of the chlorine levels, the TCEQ mandating we have to boil our water.’ For a city this size to have go through that again, it’s very upsetting, very unfortunate, very frustrating, very disappointing.”

As chlorine levels continue to be monitored, the goal for the next 72 hours is to remove areas from the boil water notice in areas that can maintain residuals.

While the public is advised to drink bottled water, but hoarding cases is discouraged.

City officials say they will notify customers when the water is once again safe for drinking.

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