Residents still have questions after advisory is lifted

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LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - Although the City of Laredo has lifted the water advisory, there are still some matters that need to be cleared up.

There are currently two different investigations into what caused the low levels of chlorine. Meanwhile, residents may still see or notice a smell in their water, but officials say it is now safe to consume.

"I started to boil water when they announced the entire city, so I had every pot and pan that was in my cover just boiling water," said Vicky Garcia, a concerned resident. "There was a lot of concern. Parts of the river are very contaminated, and we've had issues without water treatment plants in the past."

She along with thousands of other residents say the ten day water boil notice had them worried.

The press release sent out by the city of Laredo Wednesday morning stated the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality had lifted the water boil notice from central, east, and south Laredo, after satisfying the commission's chlorine levels.

The areas are currently under a free chlorine burn, a process that is done twice a year.

"People that are sensitive to a swimming pool, like when they shock the pool or something close to that, they should visit with their doctor and take precautions," said Mayor Pete Saenz.

Councilman for District 3, Mercurio Martinez, assures the community there was never any bacteria, and adds that false information on social media only lead to chaos.

"If they don't know, if they're not certain, then don't be posting things that are untrue, because that leads to mass hysteria, as well."

During a special City Council meeting back on October 2nd, T.C.E.Q. representatives explained why the notice had to include the whole city.

"If we can't provide any degree of confidence that the water from the south will not intermingle with the water from the north, we need to issue for the entire city."

Apparently, that was only done out of precaution.

"Once Mr. Mia provided the data that we needed to demonstrate that these are pressure zones, we went ahead and approved removing the north side and just keeping it to the north side."

Now, a little more than a week after the boil advisory was issued, the remaining parts of the city are clear. However, Vicky Garcia asks officials to be better prepared if this type of notice is put in place again in the future.

"I would just hope that our leaders think forward, and not just be reacting," said Garcia.

The free chlorine burn phase could last up to 30 days, during which residents may still see cloudy water and smell chlorine in their water.

Those in the affected areas will see a discount in their water bill. Residential accounts should see a credit of about $10.50 and commercial accounts almost $40 dollars, but that won't be until November.

T.C.E.Q. is currently investigating the cause of the low chlorine levels, and the City of Laredo says they are doing their own independent investigation into the matter.