Winona lifts water boil notice, but water quality issues remain

Published on Wednesday, 18 June 2014 23:24 - Written by Faith Harper,

The city of Winona lifted a water boil notice Wednesday but is still working to resolve water quality issues.

A boil water notice was called on Monday after a chlorinator pump went down in the city, said city administrator and chief of police Bryan Richards.

Richards said the city’s internal tests came back clear, but the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) also was required to test the water in its labs to ensure its safety.

Richards said the tests came clean on Thursday and the notice was lifted, however, a new water pump in the city is pulling sand into the water supply. He said the health department also approved the restaurants to open back up Thursday morning. A water sample report from TCEQ conducted by the Northeast Texas Public Health District shows the groundwater samples from five areas came back without coliform or E-Coli.

“It’s so minute, and according to TCEQ rules and regulations it’s fine, but it needs to be addressed,” Richards said.

Requests for the acceptable levels of sand in water supplies and Winona’s ratings from TCEQ were not returned by press time Wednesday afternoon.

Richards said the city has five wells but only two are currently operational, and all of the city’s water is currently pulled from its newest well five, which was built about six years ago. He said the city suspects a crack in its casing is allowing sand to get in, but it has not been formally analyzed by a professional.

Well four is operational, but it cannot handle the city’s needs alone, so the city is proposing repairing well three to assist it while they assess what is wrong its main well.

Richards said electricians and plumbers were called for estimates and the measure is expected to be approved at a specially called City Council meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Community Center, 520 W. Dallas St.

“We can use three and four to operate the city while we take five down and pull the pump and see what is going on and fix it,” Richards said.

Richards said the city’s water pressure will likely go down but the temporary fix should keep the city’s water flowing. He said prior to building the fifth well, the city was run on the same two wells.

“It’s like jumping out of a new car into an old car — it won’t run as well, but it will function,” Richard said.