Concerned customers flooded a Kempner Water Supply meeting Wednesday, asking questions about a chemical byproduct in the water.
Their concerns can be boiled down to three basic questions:
- How dangerous are the chemical byproducts in the water called trihalomethanes?
- What is being done to get them under control?
- And, why can't the company be better at communicating problems when they arise?
To answer those questions, Kempner Water Supply said the water was safe to drink, but had not provided KCEN-TV with the actual levels of trihalomethanes in their water, as of early Wednesday evening. The chemical byproducts are not dangerous at low levels but can cause liver and kidney problems -- or even cancer -- if large amounts are consumed over several years.
The company said it had added infrastructure at the water's source to pump air into the water and reduce the problem in the future. And, on Wednesday, the company vowed to better inform customers of the water quality by posting test results online.
Kempner Water Supply General Manager Delores Atkinson did claim, however, the company had been upfront and honest in telling customers about high trihalomethane levels.
"I can just assure you that they went out," Atkinson said. "And, for transparency we will post them online."
Customers said they wanted those notifications to come faster.
"I know that sometimes in my subdivision that we won't be notified until after we use the water for a couple days and it was brown, cloudy or smelled," customer Tammy Martin said.
Kempner Water Supply is still under investigation by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality due to water complaints. The agency said the results of the investigation were still several months away.