Improvements completed to remote monitoring, enhanced shift turnover communications and more
AUSTIN, TX – In a memo released March 29, Austin Water has provided details from an internal investigation of the treatment process data and operational actions that led to February’s recent boil water event.
“This in-depth investigatory process has confirmed our preliminary findings that there were failures in staff’s response to deteriorating plant conditions and communications up the chain of command,” said Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros. “This is unacceptable, and Austin Water managers are taking steps to ensure that it does not happen again.”
The reports substantiate Austin Water’s initial assessment that the cause of the February 2022 boil water notice stemmed from high turbidity water flowing out of a basin and overloading filters at the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant. Investigations of staff actions found that personnel did not appropriately respond to rising turbidity levels despite logs and multiple alarms and failed to communicate worsening water quality conditions or seek assistance.
“Austin Water has already completed improvements in remote monitoring, timer-based seeding processes, and enhanced shift turnover communications. Our teams will continue to work toward improved operational procedures, training, and guidelines,” said Director Meszaros.
The full memo and investigation reports can be read here. This item is scheduled for discussion at the March 31 Austin Water Oversight Committee at 2:00 p.m.