For months, Cleburne residents have complained about the quality of water both at home and at local restaurants.

Linda Starke recently shared her experience with tap water on the Times-Review Facebook page.

“I drank Cleburne water at two different restaurants, and both made me sick with diarrhea,” she said. 

A recent press release from the city notes that officials are aware of areas throughout the city that may be experiencing changes with the taste and odor of the water. 

“Our first priority remains to provide safe drinking water for our community, which we confirm through constant monitoring and testing,” according to the release. “That said, we also understand the importance of the quality with regard to taste and smell. While it is not uncommon to experience variation in water taste and odor throughout various times of the year, city staff is committed to providing the highest quality of water to our customers.” 

Many, in the past, have attributed the taste and odor changes to Lake Pat Cleburne turning over, a seasonal event that usually takes place in the fall and spring. 

According to the Brazos River Authority, lake water is normally stratified — or layered — by temperature, and when layers mix and change places, a lake is said to turn over. 

The turnover process takes place when temperatures cool off or significantly warm up during a change of seasons.

Temperature layers in the water remain constant during the hot days of summer and early fall. As the surface continues to cool, the water in the top layer becomes denser than that in the depths, so it sinks, which speeds up the mixing process.

Taste and odor changes from the turnover can last from three to five weeks, but Cleburne residents have noted a difference in the water quality for about three months.

Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain elaborated on the issue.

“Yes, it’s true that Lake Pat turns over twice a year, but there is no doubt that the taste and quality of our water has declined recently,” he said. “We have new staff supervision at the [Cleburne Water Treatment Plant] and they are already working on a plan to improve the taste and quality of our water. 

“Some of these changes are mechanical and some are operational and will take some time. While the water continues to be safe to drink, I am grateful that our new staff are working on improving the taste and quality of our water.”

Donnie Camp posted on the Times-Review Facebook page on Monday that it was “about time” the city attempts to change the water quality in Cleburne.

“The water has tasted like it’s been filtered through moss and dirt for months,” he said. “Like drinking straight from the bank of the lake.”

Cain said the new management team is challenging not only the water department, but every aspect of city staff to improve the level of services the city provides to its residents. 

“This includes customer service improvements and implementation of quality improvement measures,” he said. “While there will be few overnight improvements, this philosophy will have a lasting and positive impact upon our city and will set us on a path of continual improvement. For many years the private sector has utilized total quality improvement programs and customer service initiatives to set themselves apart. It is long past time that we demand the same out of our government.”

Susan L Monteith said she hopes staffing new employees will help change the quality of water. 

“I don’t go out to dinner in Cleburne because of the water,” she said. 

Darren Faulk posted that he understands fixing the water may take longer than usual.

“It’s a very old system, not an easy situation,” he said. “It doesn’t usually take them this long to get the water back to normal. Cleburne normal that is.”

For questions or concerns about the quality of water, call the Water Utility Department at 817-645-0946.

City hires staff to address water odor, bad taste

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