Austin will get answers about the boil-water notice by Dec. 11


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin residents will get some answers when it comes to the city’s boil water notice and the status of water treatment facilities.

On Thursday, the city council confirmed a resolution asking the city for those answers. Some questions asked include an overview of Austin’s water treatment facilities, a timeline detailing the foreseeability of the water turbidity issue and a detailed account of water quality data. The city manager will have to make a public report by Dec. 11.

“What happened, what went wrong, what did we learn from the situation and what can we do to never let this happen again,” Council member Ellen Troxclair summarized.

Troxclair spearheaded the resolution and garnered support from some of her fellow council members including Leslie Pool, Ora Houston and Pio Renteria. She said she got an earful from her constituents on the recent water emergency. 

“People all across Austin really felt like they didn’t get enough information from the city as to why this was happening and when it would end,” she said. 

The resolution calls on City Manager Spencer Cronk to release detailed information not just to city council members, but to the public as well. 

“I want a thorough review of what they thought went well, what they thought didn’t go well,” Troxclair explained. “A plan for emergency communications for next time and a plan that we’re going to have clean drinking water for all of Austin for the foreseeable future.”

Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros said they’ve already started that process. 

“[On Tuesday] we issued a memo to the council that had details on the chronology of the emergency response to the water boil notice,” he said.

Meszaros added they’re doing everything to ensure they’re prepared for whatever comes their way. 

“We don’t intend these things to happen with regularity,” Meszaros said. “We went 100 years without this happening. This is just such an extraordinary, unusual event that we have to learn from it and ultimately get better in it in the future.”

He said they will also be evaluating the way they handled emergency communications.

The Next 100 Years of Water

Two weeks from now, council is expected to vote on Austin Water’s plan to keep the water clean for the next 100 years. The “Water Forward Plan” takes a closer look at expanding underground water storage, and how to reclaim water and re-use it. That would require some participation from Austin Water customers.

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