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Action taken against utilities employees after boil water notice

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 9:54 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - The city has been under fire after the boil water notice became an issue that all Laredoans were forced to deal with over the holiday weekend.

City officials say they’re holding people accountable while a chlorine conversion is underway.

According to the city, an investigation into the root of the chlorine levels that led to the boil water notice is ongoing, but several individuals have already been asked to leave their positions because they were not following orders put into place in 2019 when the TCEQ last visited the city under similar circumstances.

“The city manager advised me last night that he has taken action, corrections have been made... those actions include, basically, asking people to leave the service of Laredo, that’s the plan, he’s actually suspended one individual that directly oversaw those people and then wrote up another individual that actually oversaw, as well.”

Mayor Pete Saenz responded to a post where Laredo’s City Manager Robert Eads speaks out on social media on who was allegedly behind the low chlorine levels in the city’s water system.

The Facebook post said the following:

“Simply put, we found the plant superintendent and operator erroneously sending too little chlorine in the water system for the days that led up to the boil water notice. These now former employees will no longer be able to do this, and we have new controls to ensure it. We found the root cause and eradicated it.”

“Once these measures from the TCEQ are implemented, hopefully, in the next few days, we should have this notice lifted and we should go back to normal and we apologize for all the inconveniences and hardships people have gone through and are going through,” said Saenz.

It’s fair to say that the average Laredoan is indeed facing hardships. 

“My kids ingesting what in the water?” said Jessica Alvarado, a worried mother. “Why is it that we can’t drink it or wash our hands without hand sanitizer? We have to use bottle water to wash our hands... that’s my concern.”

The question remains, how long will these concerns be endured?

“The city... we apologize, it was something preventable, but unfortunately protocols were not followed and corrective action has been taken and assurances this will not happen again,” said Mayor Saenz.

Throughout the conversion process, the city and TCEQ will monitor disinfectant levels at various areas to verify they are sustained appropriately before the notice can be lifted.

The names of the individuals asked to leave their positions have not been released.

City officials say the boil water notice is a precautionary measure due to the low chlorine levels, but they assure us no bacteria or contaminants have been found in the city’s water system.

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