Residents say they didnt recieve boil water notices directly

Posted: 11:43 PM, Nov 15, 2016
Updated: 2016-11-16 10:36:24-05

Hundreds of Lake Osborne Estates families are frustrated. Their water tested positive for E.coli, but they say their water company didn’t notified them directly.
The health department says the notification protocols seemed to be followed properly, it is now investigating the matter. 
The neighbors say they learned about the E.coli and boil water notice from the “Next Door” app, a notice that came nearly five days after the water main break happened.

Now, many say they’re feeling sick. 

“This explains why our entire family has been deathly ill since Friday,” wrote one neighbor on the app.

It’s the same app Kerri Casper used to find out the water she's been drinking has been contaminated with E.coli. It’s an app used to post neighborhood updates.

“I am flabbergasted. I am upset and now people are sick.” said Casper. “Normally when we have a boil water, we have a notice on the door.”

However, this time she says didn’t get an individual notice from her water company and neither did majority of her neighbors.

“It’s unacceptable,” said another neighbor Doug Mcglone. “We make ice with our water. We brush our teeth.”

According to the water utility company, US Water Services, they did send out notices.

However, it was not necessarily to the individual residents. 

A company spokesperson told NewsChannel 5’s Alyssa Hyman over the phone that there was a water main break last Thursday. 

Crews fixed it and sent out water samples to be tested. 

A boil water notice was not required at the time of the repair since the water never lost pressure.

Those samples came back late Sunday and tested positive for E-coli.  

The company sent out the notice the next day on Monday, but that was nearly five days after the break.

“If I had known, I would be drinking boiled water,” said Casper.
The company said it notified the two required state agencies, one news station and the neighborhood's association along with two schools. The spokesperson said they were following the direction of the Health Department.

Though, even at that point not everyone in the Lake Osborne Estates got the message.

“Only about a third of the residents are part of the association and we just can’t reach the entire neighborhood,” said the associations president Carlos Serrano. The neighborhood's association is voluntary and not everyone is a member.

Serrano said he got an email Monday from the utility, and did his best to notify the 458 households through the app and social media. However, Serrano says it should have been the utility’s responsibility.

“We feel US Water needs to do a better job distributing the notice,” said Serrano.

The health department says the utility followed the proper notification protocols. However, it will now be looking into that and why it took so long to get the samples back in the first place.