According to the TCEQ, between October 3 and December 19, 2018, the TCEQ's Tyler office conducted investigations of CTW to evaluate compliance with applicable requirements for public water safety.
During these investigations, the TCEQ says, "certain outstanding alleged violations were documented."
ALLEGED VIOLATION NO. 1
- Failure to issue a Tier 1 Public Notice as soon as possible, but in no case later than 24 hours after a situation that poses an acute threat to public health is identified
The TCEQ says CTW was aware a contaminant was present in their water mains on October 1, 2018, yet failed to notify the TCEQ and issue a Tier 1 Public Notice until October 3, 2018.
ALLEGED VIOLATION NO. 2
- Failure to maintain the normal operating pressure of 35 PSI and 25 PSI during emergency conditions such as fire fighting
According to the TCEQ, their investigation included two locations where pressure recorders were placed, one at 615 County Road 1538 and another at 33069 US 69 North.
ALLEGED VIOLATION NO. 3
- Failure to protect the public water facilities from contamination at a residence or establishment where an actual or potential contamination hazard exists
Investigators say TCEQ staff reviewed a letter from CTW to Arrington Lumber & Pallett (ALP) dated September 29, 2011, and return correspondence from ALP to CTW dated October 5, 2011, in regards to a fire hydrant location in front of ALP. The TCEQ says CTW referred to two concerns; one for not having a meter on the fire hydrant, and second, the fire hydrant was a potential cross connection.
ALP responded by stating the fire hydrant was only being used for fighting hot spots or fires, and not for routine water usage, according to the TCEQ.
A meter was subsequently installed, but the potential cross connection appeared to not be addressed.
According to the TCEQ, these actions showed CTW was aware the use of the fire hydrant at ALP posed a backflow risk, but the corporation failed to require an appropriate backflow prevention device on the outlet of the fire hydrant and address the risk the fire hydrant posed to other plumbing.
The TCEQ says they currently have another investigation concerning this incident involving ALP that is still pending.
ALLEGE VIOLATION NO. 4
- Failure to issue a boil water notice and failure to comply with special precautions in the event of a loss of pressure below 20 PSI
The TCEQ says CTW failed to issue a boil water notice within 24 hours when the corporation did not complete the alternative responses to low pressure associated with a water main break that occurred on Farm-to-Market Road 22 on September 29, 2018.
The investigator reported CTW did not verify and document the pressure remained at least 20 PSI in locations where pressure may have been the lowest. 30 TAC 290.47(e) indicates if the pressure does not drop below 20 PSI, then special precautions are not applicable.
ADDRESSING ALLEGED VIOLATIONS
According to the TCEQ, due to the apparent seriousness of the alleged violations, formal enforcement action has been initiated and additional violations may be cited upon further review.
Ross Morgan, Water Section Manager for the TCEQ's Tyler office, has encouraged CTW to immediately begin taking actions to address the outstanding alleged violations.
The CTW water service area is located in Cherokee County and serves an area directly south of Jacksonville, reports the TCEQ. CTW's source water is a combination of purchased water from the City of Jacksonville and groundwater pumped out of the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer and distributed, via a combination of high service pumps, pressure tanks and elevated storage, to approximately 1,788 connections.
To see the complete investigation report, click here.