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City taking action in response to water failure as investigation underway

(The Austin Bulldog)

Following up on why the third boil water notice in four years occurred earlier this month, city leaders met in a specially called Austin City Council meeting for immediate and long-term action.


The water boil notice, which lasted from the evening of Feb. 5 through Feb. 8, was caused by “human error” at the Ullrich Water Plant. While no contaminants were found, Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros announced he would resign on Friday due to the incident. “I am just profoundly sorry that we had this event," Meszaros said.

What’s going to change at Austin Water?

  • Meetings have been conducted with staff at all three water treatment plants: Ullrich, Davis and Handcox.
  • Process controls protocols are being examined
  • Training protocols are being examined
  • Alarms, testing and notification procedures are under review
  • Added supervision on remote software access and plant monitoring

A full review of the events leading up to the operational error is taking place. So far, Meszaros says there was no gross negligence such as sleeping on the job or employees fabricating data. This issue was unrelated to the storm as well.

City council will meet again on Thursday at 10 a.m. to consider the audit resolution, followed by an oversight committee meeting on Feb. 23 at 1:30 p.m.

Popular

Election results: Austin voters overwhelmingly pass decriminalization of marijuana

(Isabel Lanaux/Austonia)

In this weekend election, local voters chose by overwhelming margins to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, end “no-knock” warrants, raise the homestead exemption on school district property taxes and stay connected to Capital Metro.

Austin

Proposition A

For: 84%

Against: 16%

Total votes: 81,959

Austin voters overwhelmingly voted to pass Prop A, which will decriminalize possession of less than 4 oz. of marijuana in as well as eliminate “no-knock” warrants. While that amount of weed was already decriminalized in Austin, the decision will cement it into city code.

Police will still be able to seize marijuana but will not be able to charge most Austinites for an offense.

Leander

Proposition A

For: 59%

Against: 41%

Total votes: 4,778

Leander voters are holding strong with Capital Metro, with 59% voting for Proposition A. CapMetro runs a commuter bus route from Leander to downtown Austin, on-demand Pickup services and a commuter rail link to Austin. Supporters hoped for increased connection to Austin through the light-rail system that will be developed as part of Project Connect.

Had the partnership been voted down, the city would have owed an estimated $42.3 million as a penalty before a 1% sales tax was redirected to Leander's general revenue fund to be used for economic development, public transportation and infrastructure to support growth.

Proposition B

For: 58%

Against: 42%

Total votes: 4,643

On Prop B, voters have decided to divert the 1% sales tax to the city’s general fund.

Texas

Proposition 1

For: 87%

Against: 13%

Total votes: 929,196

Voters chose to reduce schools' property tax bills imposed on disabled residents or those over the age of 65 by a landslide.

Proposition 2

For: 85%

Against: 15%

Total votes: 939,531

Voters chose by a huge margin to raise the homestead exemption Texans can take on their school district property taxes from $25,000 to $40,000.

Tesla offers travel support for employees leaving their home state for abortions

(Tesla)

Tesla is covering travel costs for employees going out of state for abortions.

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