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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Council to hear some answers about boil-water event
Tuesday, February 15, 2022 by Jo Clifton
Today’s special called City Council meeting may offer some answers (though few surprises) for those who have been paying attention to last week’s boil-water notice and the subsequent resignation of Austin’s Water’s director. Greg Meszaros, who has been director of the utility since 2007, submitted his resignation to City Manager Spencer Cronk on Friday, saying he took “full responsibility for any shortcomings at the utility this past week.” He also highlighted some of Austin Water’s accomplishments during his tenure, including completing more than $2 billion in infrastructure improvements, preserving a strong financial structure and working in partnership with the community to create the Water Forward integrated water resource plan. Also, in an 11-page memo, Meszaros answered many of the questions Council members had posed on the City Council Message Board last week. Council Member Paige Ellis had a dozen questions. One of the most important questions was whether any contaminants were actually found in the city’s drinking water, to which the answer is no. According to Meszaros, three of the utility’s employees responsible for operations at the Ullrich water treatment plant – the plant responsible for increased turbidity that resulted in the boil-water order – are now on administrative leave. As Meszaros pointed out, Austin Water continues its investigation, and he promised more answers in the coming weeks. Council’s special meeting is scheduled to start at 9 a.m., with a regular work session to follow. Those interested in more water topics can watch the Water and Wastewater Commission meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Mayor Pro Tem Alison Alter has also said she would sponsor a resolution directing the city manager to seek an outside audit of the utility.