Erin Brockovich's post about Tyler water raises residents’ conce - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Erin Brockovich's post about Tyler water raises residents’ concern

(Source: KLTV staff) (Source: KLTV staff)
Facebook post by Erin Brockovich regarding Tyler's water violation. (Source: Facebook) Facebook post by Erin Brockovich regarding Tyler's water violation. (Source: Facebook)
Greg Morgan, managing director of Tyler Utilities & Public Works. (Source: KLTV staff) Greg Morgan, managing director of Tyler Utilities & Public Works. (Source: KLTV staff)
Erin Brockovich. (Source: Brockovich.com) Erin Brockovich. (Source: Brockovich.com)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

After the City of Tyler sent a mandatory notice that about a contaminant level violation, consumer advocate Erin Brockovich posted a warning to residents on her Facebook page.

"Tyler, Texas...you are being lied to in a very dangerous way," Brockovich's post reads. "You were victims of a sewer distribution system chlorine burnout. The burnout lasted for two months and ending in October."

Related: Despite notice, City of Tyler says water is safe for residents to drink

Greg Morgan, Director for Utilities & Public Works denies that the burnout, or free chlorine conversion is the cause of the contaminant level violation.

"The free chlorine conversion we did in August - September time frame was not the root cause of this problem," says Morgan. "This violation was measured in May of 2015, approximately three or four months before we did the free chlorine conversion." 

The Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) sent a letter dated October 1 alerting Tyler's mayor that the total haloceitic acids (HAA5) levels in the water were above the Maximum Contaminant level of 0.060 milligrams per liter. 

The letter is stamped received by water utilities on October 12, and Morgan says a letter was sent to residents, as required by law, within the 30 day notification period. Click here for TCEQ notice of violation to the City of Tyler

"We followed the established protocol that the TCEQ outlines for issuing notifications to our customers," Morgan says. "It says right in the form letter that you do not need to use an alternative water supply, as your water remains safe to drink." 

Brockovich's post that disputes Tyler Utilities and Public Works' safe water position, has been shared almost 6,000 times. The environmental activist says any level over the TCEQ standard is unacceptable.

"They just go over this broad standard of what it should or shouldn’t be and if they exceed it by a little they think its no big deal," Brockovich says. "The cities have a duty to inform the people that there’s been a violation and exactly what it is. You have to stop letting the consumer know what you’ve done after the fact."

Morgan says steps have been taken to get the water within the required levels.  TCEQ's website still shows Tyler as not in compliance, but Morgan says due to quarterly reporting based on rolling averages, it may take months before the status is changed, despite new lower levels.

According to TCEQ records, Tyler water utilities serves 192,748 customers including the City of Whitehouse, Southern Utilities, John Soules Foods, Walnut Grove Water Supply Corporation, Southpark Mobile Home Estates, and Community Water Co. Montgomery Garden. 

Residents notice change in water

"We’ve had hundreds of people [in Tyler] come to us," Brockovich says. "I always hear it first from the community. The people are the ones out there that are drinking the water and believe it or not they can notice the change. They know enough to know something has gone wrong with the water and they don’t always know who to call."

Tyler resident Suzie Key says she noticed a change in her water a few months ago.

"If I would run a bath for my daughter or run water in the sink, I could smell a slight chlorine odor," says Key. "When it's so unpleasant you can't drink it, that to me is not a good sign."

She received the water violation notice from the city, but says seeing Brockovich's Facebook post last week really hit home.

"I was really shocked, at first I thought there's no way that this is her and that she's really aware of little Tyler, Texas," Key says. "This woman's purpose for several years has been to look out for cities and their citizens and their well being."

John Newman of Tyler has been skeptical about his water since a plumber found corrosion in his copper pipes.

"We decided about a year ago when we had the leak to go to bottled water for our drinking purposes," Newman says. "We also put a filter on our sink."

After seeing the city's notice and reading Brockovich's post, Newman says he believes he made the right decision in avoiding tap water. 

"We are giving our animals bottled water, we are making coffee and tea with bottled water," Key says. "We are not going to use tap water for anything other than bathing and showering which we don't have a choice."

Both Key and Newman say they understand the city's position on the water's safety, but they say for now that doesn't give them a lot of comfort. 

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