AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Water Oversight Committee held a special meeting Thursday to discuss the findings of an internal investigation by Austin Water into the three-day boil water notice last month.
Staff with Austin Water presented their findings to the committee, made up of council members, and shared the report detailing what led to the boil water notice in early February.
According to the report, Austin Water staffers did not take immediate action after learning that water at the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant had a high turbidity, meaning the water was appearing cloudy. An internal operation issue led to the increased turbidity in the water, which was made up of "processed solids, mostly comprised of lime," that exceeded regulatory requirements.
The report also laid out steps being taken to ensure a similar issue doesn't happen in the future.
Austin Water Operations Manager Stephanie Sue said part of the solution was having staff vacancies filled.
"They are working harder than ever now. We have a lot of vacancies. They are covering for people who don't exist on my team," Sue told the committee. "So they're working harder than ever and they're not getting paid as much as their peers are."
The utility provider is also adding more training for staff and improving how it monitors treatment plants. Previously, the provider had considered issuing a small refund to customers after the boil water notice but now plans to use that money to invest in system upgrades.
Read the full report, released March 29, online here.
To watch the full Austin Water Oversight Committee oversight meeting, vising the City of Austin's website.
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