‘It sucks’: Residents of Sweeny say water quality problems continue after weeks of complaints

SWEENY, Texas – Residents in Sweeny are furious over the quality of water throughout the city.

“I really want to get out of this town, it sucks,” said resident Tabitha Paschall.

Paschall, a mother of three told KPRC she refuses to use the brown, murky water for anything,

“It’s getting kind of crazy, all my white clothes come out stained brown because of the water and I won’t bathe my kids in it. We don’t cook with it, I mean I just don’t trust it,” Paschall said

KPRC visited the small town two weeks ago to learn more about the problem.

Paschall said after our visit the quality of water seemed to improve for about 24 hours but claims it didn’t last.

We took the issue to Sweeny City Manager Lindsay Koskiniemi who confirmed it was an ongoing issue that the city was trying to fix.

“What we have found since we have been investigating the water coloration issue is that first and foremost, we’re not able to polyphosphate, that’s a Sequestering agent used to conceal the coloration of naturally occurring metallics such as manganese and iron. Secondarily, we found that we need to rehabilitate our water softeners. Water softeners at their most basic level pull out metallics and replace them with sodium,” Koskiniemi said.

Koskiniemi added that residents with questions and concerns about the water could learn more about the city’s efforts at the next city council meeting which is set for April 25th at 6p.m.

KPRC reached out to the Texas Commission on Environmental quality. In a two-part statement they said:

On March 6, 2023, the TCEQ Houston Region Office received a complaint regarding water being brown/yellow for the City of Sweeny (Public Water Supply Registration 0200009). An investigation was conducted which resulted in alleged violations for failing to meet the secondary constituent level for color and failing to document the dates when all dead-end mains were flushed. The alleged violation for failing to meet the secondary constituent level for color remains outstanding. The alleged violation for documenting the date of the dead-end main flushing has been resolved.

Here is some additional information:

TCEQ technical staff have been working with the City to provide on-site and remote assistance to address the issue, which could include potential changes to their chemical treatment. Changes to any treatment including corrosion control will require a submittal to the TCEQ for review and approval. The TCEQ is working with the City of Sweeny to address the issues. At this time, no submittals are in-house for the city.

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