Austin Water Treatment System under review after boil notice

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The city manager of Austin has outlined the steps the city will take to improve its water treatment system. Recent flooding of the Colorado and Llano rivers so overwhelmed the system that residents had to boil their tap water for four days.

According to the Austin-American Statesman, City Manager Spencer Cronk wrote, in a memo to the city council, that a system-wide check on the water treatment system will be performed in the next 10 to 14 days. According to the memo, the check will include maintenance, plant cleanup and wash-down activities. The flooding brought down large amounts of silt and debris that clogged the treatment system.

An Austin water treatment system spokeswoman told the Statesman that the system is pumping at full capacity although silt and mud levels were still higher than normal. A restriction on outdoor watering has lowered the city’s water usage.

After working long shifts to get the situation under control, Austin Water employees took a rest period to recover, according to the memo from Cronk. Water distribution stations were being closed, the newspaper account said.

The memo from Cronk comes a week after Austin City Council member Ellen Troxclair proposed that Cronk provide both a public briefing and a report on the water crisis. Because none of her council colleagues co-sponsored her proposal, it was not placed on the following week’s council agenda but is expected to be considered at the Nov. 15 meeting.

“It is the council’s job to make sure the city is economical and transparent, and a good way to do that is to have a follow-up report,” Troxclair told the Statesman.

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