7 Investigates: Retired environmental engineer calls Brockovich - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7 Investigates: Retired environmental engineer calls Brockovich post about Tyler water a 'crock'

(Source: KLTV staff) (Source: KLTV staff)
Noble Johnson, environmental engineer from Tyler. (Source: KLTV staff) Noble Johnson, environmental engineer from Tyler. (Source: KLTV staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

After growing concern among residents about water safety, Tyler's mayor Martin Heines announced Tuesday that a news conference will be held on Wednesday at 11a.m.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issued water violation notice dated October 1 to the city of Tyler after finding haloacetic acids (HAA5) at elevated levels in the city's water supply.  

City water officials assured the public that the water remained safe for drinking.

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

On October 30, nationally-recognized environmental activist Erin Brockovich warned the public in a Facebook post that Tyler residents were in danger, and the water supply was not safe. 

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

Retired environmental engineer Noble Johnson said most of the allegations in Brockovich's post are wrong. 

"I've spent my life tilting windmills to protect people's health," said Johnson. "When I read [Brockovich's post, I said] this is a crock."

Johnson worked 25 years as an investigator and engineer for TCEQ, including water treatment engineering. Based on Johnson's review of the testing and numbers, he said the city was only three percent over the limit. 

"The EPA doesn’t establish standards that are right at the limit of causing people harm," said Johnson. "They set their standards with a huge safety factor and there haven’t even been short term studies that have been verified on short term exposure on HAA5."

According to TCEQ records, the elevated levels of HAA5 were identified in May.

"My whole involvement in this thing is because I have people in my church that were reading this [post by Brockovich} and they were frightened by it." said Johnson, who is also a Tyler resident. "The water is safe to drink, i’m not going to change my habits based on this and I’m a three-time cancer survivor." 

Brockovich said that any amount over the limit is a cause for concern.

"When you over-exceed these toxic chemicals in the water supply and you feed it to the consumer and they have an effect, you’ve assaulted them with the water," Brockovich said. "It’s been poisoned above the standard." 

TCEQ records indicate the cities of Arp and Edgewood had the same type of violations for elevated HAA5 levels over the past year.

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