An 11-second video that sparked outrage over the weekend was pulled from the Kempner Water Supply Corporation’s Facebook page Monday after residents accused the company of making light of customers’ concerns about the quality of their water.
In a Facebook post Monday afternoon, Kempner WSC’s board of directors apologized for the video showing staff and management drinking glasses of the company’s water and smiling to the camera.
“The intent of the posting was not to be condescending to nor devalue the concerns of our Member/Owners but was merely to illustrate that the employees trust in the quality and safety of our water,” the post said. “Once again, the Board, Management, and Employees offer our sincerest apologies to anyone that took offense to this video.”
Kempner WSC general manager Delores Atkinson, who was shown in the video, told the Herald she was asked by the board of directors to be on camera drinking the water. She deferred further comments to the company’s Facebook page.
The original video, which was posted Friday and has since been deleted, garnered hundreds of comments with residents pointing to the company providing cloudy water that smelled strongly of bleach.
Other users noted past tests showing elevated levels of trihalomethanes, which are a by-product of residual chlorine in water lines and have been linked to an increased risk of cancer in animal test subjects, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Kempner WSC was cited twice by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for high levels of trihalomethanes in July and October. The average levels for trihalomethanes were reported at 75 parts per billion — slightly less than the maximum contaminant level of 80 parts per billion — but one test showed a detection level of 244 parts per billion, according to the company's annual Consumer Confidence Report issued in late June.
Atkinson said June 30 the elevated tests were caused by a free run of chlorine in system pipes, which the corporation uses to disinfect drinking water. Atkinson said the violations did not present a health risk to system customers.
“You’d have to drink gallons and gallons for it to be any problem,” Atkinson said. “It’s a precautionary measure mandated by the EPA.”
According to the TCEQ, Kempner WSC also failed to notify the public of the failed test in October.
The company’s board of directors will hold their monthly meeting Wednesday at Kempner’s WSC headquarters at 11986 E. U.S. Highway 190. According to a notice on the company’s website, “member-owners” are invited to attend and ask questions of the board.
The meeting begins at 1 p.m.