FRISCO, Texas - Environmental activist Erin Brockovich lived up to her promise on Thursday by visiting North Texas over water quality concerns.
The North Texas Municipal Water District, which services several cities in the area, insists the water supply is safe. But residents have complained of rashes and a strong smell of chlorine. Brockovich's involvement amplified their concerns.
People paid $20 to see Brockovich and ask her and her associate questions.
The water testing period that led to this uproar is over, but people's anger and confusion over the water is not. Community organizers say the event was a major step forward in getting changes to the system.
The near-packed venue in Frisco was filled with people who have felt energized about their water quality and the person who made them believe their concerns were valid.
Brockovich first railed against the North Texas Municipal Water District in March. The district said it was performing a four-week long routine maintenance and had warned people they would smell chlorine. But people said this time was different and complained of rashes and stains.
“We're here tonight because this community has responded to the chlorine burn,” Brockovich told the crowd.
Before the meeting, the water district gave a group of concerned citizens a tour in hopes of shedding light on how its system works. It still insists the water quality remained within state and federal guidelines.
“Ours is a process that is monitored, tested throughout the day every day of the year,” explained NTMWD Executive Director Tom Kula.
Despite citizens' concerns, leaders in the affected cities have not made any big public pushes for change or expressed great concern.
Brockovich believes it's because they don't understand.
“I cannot understand why your representatives aren't hearing their people. I’m not really sure, but I’m hoping tonight that they will,” she said. “I think it is about lack of transparency, miscommunications and not understanding what happens.”
Brockovich and her water system expert said they aren't here to swoop in and leave. They say they'll be here to help the community organizers with whatever they need going forward.