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Activists demand change to Laredo’s water

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 12:14 PM CDT
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LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - A group of citizens are planning to take legal action against the City of Laredo if it does not improve its public water system.

Thursday morning, the citizens’ group, “AGUAS!”, Accion De Gente Unida Para Agua Segura, held a protest outside of City Hall in downtown Laredo. The group is calling on the city to resolve any violations of the Safe Water Drinking Act they may have, or they’ll be taking their fight to the courtroom.

“What we’re doing is taking the legal channels to probably inform the City of Laredo that they (will be) sued within 60 days,” said Carlos Blanco, Jr., founder of AGUAS!.

The citizens’ group was founded in 2019 after the city was accused of ignoring an order from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to issue a boil water notice.

KGNS reported in September 2019 that state officials had notified the city about the need to issue a boil water notice almost a week before they actually did.

Blanco said they are advocating, especially, for south Laredo residents who he feels have been neglected by the city for years.

“People that were most affected were the people from the colonias and the eldest or oldest barrios from Laredo, TX,” said Blanco. “El Azteca, Chacon, Three Points, Santo Nino, Ghost Town, and other parts of the southern parts of Laredo. We feel that’s why the City of Laredo dragged their feet and actually had no action taken for the first boil water notice of September 2019,” Blanco added.

Five members of AGUAS! are named in the citizen suit notice. The letter of notice has been addressed to Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz and City of Laredo Utilities Director Arturo Garcia, Jr.

AGUAS! is being represented by the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. An attorney with the non-profit says the Safe Water Drinking Act requires citizens who want to bring a suit under the act to give a 60-day notice to the water system.

KGNS reached out to the City of Laredo about the protest and the citizens’ demands, but a spokesperson tells us they have no comment at this time.

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