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TCEQ Issues 18 Violations to La Grulla Water Plant

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LA GRULLA – The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is alleging 18 violations of the Texas Health and Safety code and commission rules.

TCEQ will give the city of La Grulla until September 30 to gain compliance by paying an administrative penalty and taking exact steps to correct the issues. Most of the issues are directly related to maintenance and housekeeping of water plant infrastructure.

Blanca Gonzalez is new to the Rio Grande Valley from Oklahoma. She enjoys the hot weather, but when she needs a refreshing glass of water, she turns to water she buys to cool her off. She chooses not drink tap water in the city.

"Sometimes when they're cleaning the pipes, they come in all black and nasty and sometimes it's not good water at all," she said.

TCEQ Media Relations Specialist Brian McGovern said in the following statement water quantity and quality may suffer as a result of the violations, which reads in part:

"A failure to provide adequate treatment plant capacity (item #6) or a failure to provide the required raw water pump capacity (item #8) could limit the water system's ability to provide a sufficient quantity of water to all its customers..." and "... In Texas, every public water system is required to disinfect the water to kill (inactivate) pathogens. A failure to maintain the required disinfectant residual throughout the distribution system (item #18) could result in inadequate disinfection of treated water provided to the public."

TCEQ is assessing the city a discounted administrative fee of $3,064.

The commission will waive $765 if La Grulla meets TCEQ's demands in the listed time frames. If the city does not comply with TCEQ's settlement attempt, the case will be passed on to the commission's litigation department.

La Grulla's Water Plant Supervisor Thor Rivera responded to our requests in the following statement, which reads in part:

"I believe we're going to respond with a formal letter to ask for more time to fix what we can. Almost all the violations are pretty old from prior inspections and it's just what we inherited when the committee and myself took over... nothing was ever done by prior leaders"

"The new violations are basic and simple and can be fixed or corrected! The message for the citizens is that they should not be concerned or worried and be patient."

"I'm really concerned about not drinking the water for me and my family," said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said she will continue to purchase water to quench her summer thirst.

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