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Water Runs Black In Crystal Texas

Water Runs Black In Crystal Texas

Posted by on Feb 26th 2016

Dirty water and allegations of dirty officials have wracked a small south Texas town that calls itself "The Spinach Capital of the World."

Black, stinky water unexpectedly flowed from faucets in a Crystal City on Wednesday.

"It looked like black sludge. They were comparing it to oil -- that dark," resident Nora Flores-Guerrero told CNN affiliate KSAT.

"We didn't get a proper warning. They didn't post anything or send out any type of message to warn the residents. It was pretty scary."

The city said the problem occurred when the city's elevated water tank was drained for the first time in decades and built-up sediment in the bottom of the tank got into the water.

In a move reminiscent of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, the Texas Commission on Environment Quality (TCEQ) trucked in loads of bottled water.

State says don't drink the water

Is the water safe now? That depends on who you ask.

Carlos Ramierez, the city's water superintendent on the job less than a year, told CNN that the TCEQ declared the water safe for drinking Saturday morning.

But TCEQ media relations manager Andrea Morrow told CNN that's not what happened.

"While the most recent samples testing for water pressure, chlorination, and bacteria have come back in the acceptable range, we would like to wait until we have the complete suite of sample results back until we can give the all-clear," she said. "We may have these as soon as Tuesday. In the meantime, we would still urge residents not to drink discolored water, and to boil city water before drinking it."

When asked about the city's assertion that TCEQ told them the water was safe as of this morning, Morrow said the city conducted its own sampling and those results came back negative.

Distrust was already running deep in Crystal City, a municipality of about 7,500 people located 115 miles southwest of San Antonio.