Monday, January 20, 2020
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sharyland water supply corp logoThe Sharyland Water Supply Corporation was following protocol when they sent out a notice last month warning customers of a contamination level for chlorite in the water.

The letter, dated March 22, advises customers that an amount of chlorite-a chemical used to clean water- was found in the drinking water of the Sharyland WSC that exceeded the regular contaminant level.

“Some infants and young children who drink water containing chlorite in excess of the MCL could experience nervous system effects,” the letter states. “Similar effects may occur in fetuses of pregnant women who drink water containing chlorite in excess of the MCL. Some people may experience anemia.”

While the letter tells customers that the issue was immediately resolved and that the water is safe to drink, the letter also stated that the incident occurred last January, months before the notice was sent out.

“Analysis of drinking water in your community for chlorite indicates a compliance value in January 2019 of 1.40 milligrams per liter for DS01,” the letter states, explaining that the maximum contaminant level for chlorite is at 1.0 milligrams per liter. “We continue to monitor our chemical feed equipment multiple times each day and we respond immediately when issues arise.”

Despite the late notice, officials with the Sharyland WSC said the chlorite level was immediately reported to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in Austin as is standard protocol for the water corporation.

As part of a mandate with the TCEQ, the corporation had to wait on a ruling from the TCEQ on how to proceed with the issue before they notified the public.

“As this wasn’t considered something that posed an imminent health threat, we didn’t immediately notify the public as even with the excess contaminant level, it wasn’t big enough to declare a crisis. Otherwise we would’ve immediately notified customers,” Assistant General Manager Javier Ramirez said.

Sharyland WSC, which serves 18,000 customers, does daily tests on their water, Ramirez said. It’s how they found the contaminant in their water in the first place and, after treating the issue, saw that contaminant levels were back to normal the day after the contaminant was found.

“Water has been safe to drink for months now,” Ramirez said. “If there’s an exceeding of any kind of contaminant in the water TCEQ guides us with how to proceed with corrective action. That included sending the notice when we did, which we did in the name of transparency.”