On Oct. 12, the city of Tyler received a letter from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality notifying us that the Tyler water system had exceeded maximum contaminant levels for haloacetic acids.

According to guidelines from the TCEQ, the water remains safe to drink. Any risk would be associated with long-term ingestion over many decades.

According to the professional staff at the Water Department, it is believed that the surge in haloacetic acids in our system was caused by an increase in organic matter in our water supply. This occurred when intense rains in the spring caused organic materials in the watershed to be swept into the water source.

Since at least 2004, this is the first time that Tyler has been in violation of standards for haloacetic acids.

I’m told that haloacetic acids are formed when organic material interacts with chloramines or chlorine used to disinfect the water. This disinfection process removes pathogens that could cause extreme illness, such as e-coli and cholera.

I would like to stress that I remain confident in the Tyler water system. However, I am not a chemist. I have no background in water treatment. I do, however, take this situation very seriously. Because of that, and to address citizen concerns, I have asked the city manager to hire an independent, third party expert who has never done work for the city of Tyler to evaluate both the facilities and protocols of our Water Department.

The firm that I have selected is Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd, Inc. They have expertise in water systems similar in size to Tyler and have the ability to assess both the facilities and treatment practices.

We expect the independent review to take approximately two weeks.

The firm will begin work starting on Monday. Upon completion of their assessment, we will review the findings and make them available to the public.

Mayor Martin Heines

Tyler

 

CELL PHONES

I really don’t like stating the obvious but to drastically reduce the fighting, arrests and, of course, the excessive video recording of school fights between students, teachers and the police should just remove all cellphones from campuses.

Cellphones are a luxury item. Students do not need cellphones while at school. Before parents start giving me grief about this, please know that I put two children through public school so I do understand how convenient cellphones are. Convenient? Yes. Vital to your child’s existence? No. There is no violation of one’s civil rights if you ban cellphones from school campuses. The only people that might need a cellphone are administrators and teachers.

If your child must call you, then they can call you from the front office or better yet put a pay phone on campus and your darling can call you when they are ready to be picked up or if they are coming home late.

Problem solved.

Heidi Lockridge

Tyler

 

SOCIAL SECURITY

I am writing to express my deep disappointment in the recent announcement that there will not be a cost of living increase for Social Security beneficiaries next year. As health care costs continue to rise, the strain on seniors, like me, is becoming unmanageable - especially as previous COLAs have failed to keep pace.

Though there is a growing movement in America to expand Social Security, next year’s lack of COLA demands immediate action. Seventy-nine percent of likely voters - Democrats, Republicans and independents - support expanding Social Security benefits and paying for it by asking the wealthy to pay their fair share.

It is critical that Congress acts now to maintain dignity for seniors and people with disabilities by addressing the lack of a cost of living adjustment next year.

People like me are counting on it.

Joan Mayfield

Tyler

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