Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Looking Into City of Kermit's Water

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

KERMIT - Sometimes it's brown. Sometimes it stinks. That's how one homeowner describes the water coming out of her tap. She got fed up and filed a complaint with the state.

Debra Smith said she's unsure of what she'll get each time she turns on the faucet.

"The water can be rusty coming out of the sink," Smith said. "It can have an actual brown color coming out of the kitchen faucet. Sometimes it has a bad odor to it."

Smith said it's happened sporadically for months now. She contacted the city and said they came out to look at the problem on multiple occasions but Smith claims the city said everything was fine.

"They've told me there's not a problem with the water, my pipes are probably old in my house," Smith said.

Smith reached out to other Kermit residents on Facebook who said they're dealing with the same problem.

Frustrated and feeling ignored, she called the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. It turns out something was wrong.

"They checked the water. They checked for minerals in the water and discoloration," Smith said. "The water was running warm. They told me yes I had a valid complaint and that they were gonna go to city hall."

NewsWest 9 spoke with Michael Edmiston of the TCEQ. He confirmed there were barely any trace amounts of chlorine, the chemical used to help keep the water clean. But the city claims the TCEQ's field equipment was inaccurate.

In a statement, City Manager, John Sheppard, said, "The city ran tests alongside the TCEQ colorimeter and the chlorine was at an acceptable level."

He also said discolored water is an issue they deal with twice a year and, "the city will perform a mini-flush in the area" on Wednesday. The entire city's system will be flushed later this month.

Smith said she's relieved it's getting attention but she just wants the issue taken care of.

"As long as the state will stay on top of it and make sure that we're getting the water that we're paying for and that we need," Smith said.

TCEQ said the results of their tests will be released in the next few days. NewsWest 9 will follow up and let you know what those results are.