TCEQ talks options for HSB water system

The water pressure was still low in Horseshoe Bend resident Linda Alg’s home Thursday morning after a second leak was discovered in the area Wednesday morning.

After residents at Horseshoe Bend have experienced water outages or low pressure for more than a week, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality discussed details on the water system as well as options.

“TCEQ’s record indicate that the first well for Horseshoe Bend water systems was drilled in 1971 by Lakeside Company. A well was also drilled in 1972 by Horseshoe Land Company,” TCEQ Media Relations Specialist Brian McGovern said. “Horseshoe Land Company later merged into Horseshoe Water Company, Inc. Since that time, the property has been owned by several entities. Castle Water, Inc. [doing business as] Horseshoe Bend Water Work has been the owner of the Horseshoe Bend public water system since 2001.”

McGovern said Texas Rain Holding Company Inc. was formed on Feb. 13, 2001.

“Individuals associated with Texas Rain Holding Company Inc., [doing business as] Horseshoe Bend Water Works. On-site investigations specify Texas Rain Holding Company Inc. as the operations company for the system beginning sometime in 2011,” McGovern said. “According to information available to the TCEQ’s Water Supply Division, the residents of Horseshoe Bend do not own any of the assets of the public water system. In some cases, customers form a Homeowners Association, Property Owners Association, or water supply corporation [and] can negotiate with a PWS owner to acquire the system.”

McGovern said TCEQ does not have any information about customers pursuing this option at HSB.

A damaged gate valve was the cause of a water outage in HSB on June 18. Some residents had a small amount of water available over the weekend of June 22, but some were still without. The valve was repaired on Tuesday, but the pressure was still very low for residents, hindering basic needs like showering. On Wednesday, Texas Rain discovered a leak on Chavez Trail and a timeframe was not provided on when repairs would be made.

“I feel very frustrated. Everyone I talk to tells em they are sorry, they are looking into this and suggest I call someone else,” HSB resident Linda Alg said. “No one wants to say the buck stops here. I am learning a lot about our local, county and state officials’ work and who they report to — it is not the taxpayer/consumer. It makes me mad.”

Resident Bonbon Booker said 80 percent of the time they still have no water.

“I live in the bend. And it’s really not on. It’s on for a little while daily. We still can’t shower or wash clothes or even depend on having a trickle of water,” Booker said. “We only have a trickle of water and that’s not acceptable — keep in mind this just doesn’t happen every once in a while. This is a continued cycle that we go through.”

McGovern provided some options as far as what can be done about the public water system.

“To make upgrades to the PWS, the current or future owner has options, including using existing funds, raising water rates and/or borrowing money from a bank or funding agency to fund improvements,” McGovern said.

McGovern said a TCEQ investigator did not observe any leaks in the distribution system Thursday.

“TCEQ staff were onsite at the Horseshoe Bend community today. They monitored for disinfectant residuals, pressure in the area, and investigated the location of potential leaks. Additionally, a previously deployed pressure recorder was checked and a second pressure recorder has been deployed to monitor the distribution pressure in the neighborhood,” McGovern said. “TCEQ staff indicated that the distribution pressure while onsite was 15-17 psi and disinfectant residuals were between 2.0-2.1 mg/L free chlorine. The investigator did not observe any leaks in the distribution system.”

According to the Texas Administrative Code, the residual disinfectant concentration in the water within the distribution system shall be at least 0.2 mg/L free chlorine or 0.5 mg/L chloramine. The water system shall provide a minimum pressure of 35 psi throughout the distribution system under normal operating conditions or a minimum pressure of 20 psi during emergencies.

“TCEQ personnel will continue to monitor the system until compliant pressure and disinfectant residual are consistently maintained,” McGovern said.

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