City of Plano to address water quality concerns

The city of Plano will address water quality concerns on Tuesday that residents in many North Texas cities also have.

The city will have a representative from the North Texas Municipal Water District to talk with residents before Tuesday's city council meeting.

People in several North Texas cities have complained about a chlorine smell and unusual taste to the water. It grabbed the attention of environmental activist Erin Brockovich. Thousands of people have joined a group online to talk about their concerns.

The group wants a scientific explanation as to why the water smells like chlorine and how safe it is. They could get answers when the executive director of the water district briefs Plano City Council.

Jamie Stephens is one of more than 7,000 people part of the "Safer Water North Texas" group on Facebook. People on the page are complaining their water, provided by the North Texas Municipal Water District, smells like chlorine. It's not their only complaint.

“We know that people are having burns. We know that people are having rashes,” Stephens said. “We don't know for sure that it's the water. We don't know. But we know that we need to investigate it further.”

Their concerns are bolstered by big-name environmental activist Erin Brockovich. She, too, has been posting on Facebook. She’s been critical of the water district's maintenance procedure after Brokovich says some Plano residents contacted her.

But the water district says the water smells like chlorine because of a normal maintenance procedure done annually. The district says for the month of March, the district is turning off ammonia and allowing chlorine to flow into the system to kill bacteria and viruses.

A water district spokesperson told FOX 4 on Monday that the EPA says the district is in "full compliance" with the process.

Brockovich is calling out the city of Plano, which contracts with the district, in particular. Plano has since put its water quality data online, sharing that the city has a "superior" rating from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

TCEQ says two people in Plano have filed formal complaints about the taste and odor of water in Plano, and TCEQ is now investigating.

“We just want answers,” Stephens said. “We want more information, and we want to be able to have other experts aside from the EPA and these agencies to look at it and say yes, that it is safe.”

The briefing of Plano City Council will happen around 6 p.m. Tuesday. Council meets after around 7 p.m.

Stephens plans to sign up to speak at the city council meeting, although water concerns are not on the agenda. She says she and several other Collin County residents have hired an expert to conduct an independent test of the water in North Texas.