Environmental Activist Takes On Water Purity In North Texas

PLANO, TX — The City of Plano announced last month that residents living in the area could notice a change in the flavor and smell of tap water during a district-wide water treatment project. The project, as many have pointed out, has resulted in a chlorinated smell so strong that some refuse to drink it.

While the city said in a statement to the press that the water remains safe to drink, famed environmental activist Erin Brockovich shared a post on Facebook explaining why, in her opinion, the combination of two often-used chemicals results in a dangerous situation for residents.

" North Texas Municipal Water District is cutting corners on quality and rather then provide responsible answers to their consumers is hidding (sic) behind misrepresented TCEQ regulations," she wrote on Facebook.

She went on to explain that rather than following "clearly defined" codes of the Disinfection Byproducts Rule, the North Texas Municipal Water District chose to "ADD AMMONIA to chlorine to form chloramine. Good people of North Texas… this is a cheap dirty trick and a really bad idea."

In a statement sent to the press, the Water District assured residents that it has not increased the amount of chlorine, nor added ammonia, in the water.

"The only change during this temporary maintenance period has been the discontinuation of ammonia while maintaining all other treatment processes," the district wrote. "The odor will be more noticeable due to the lack of ammonia."

The director of operations and maintenance at the water district went on say the safety and purity of drinking water remains a priority.

"Water quality and safety is a top priority, and we work closely with officials in Member and Customer Cities, federal and state agencies to fulfill our mission," Mike Rickman said. "This is a safe and scientifically proven method to ensure that treated water remains safe as it moves throughout the distribution system," Rickman added.

Brokovich responded to the district’s statement, calling it "laughable."

"Quite frankly, their ‘press release’ doesn’t say much," she wrote on Facebook. "Meeting the extremely limited Safe Drinking Water Act regulations is laughable. Did you know we are allowed to drink what is illegal to flush in our toilets… the system in broken… NTMWD knows this and made a conscious choice to cut corners and do the bare minimum. Their choice to add ammonia was made with zero community input! It is a cheap… temporary fix to a much bigger problem."

The North Texas Municipal Water District which provides water to areas in and around Plano, Mckinney and Frisco. The chlorine scare does not affect cities served by Dallas Water Utilities.

The water maintenance program will come to an end on March 26.

Lead image via Shutterstock

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