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Dilley residents question water quality

A battle is brewing south of San Antonio over one of life's most precious commodities.

A battle is brewing south of San Antonio over one of life's most precious commodities.

Many are asking if the water in Dilley is contaminated.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality recently found several violations when it looked into the City of Dilley's water facilities.

Now there's even a penalty of more than $12,000 being levied against the city.

Working in an office in the back of a windshield repair shop, Jose Asuncion discovered problems with the city's water after some independent research.

Asuncion is a citizen journalist.

"I believe documentation, which is why I've been doing as much research as I can," Asuncion said.

We verified the legitimacy of the documents with TCEQ. They reveal high levels of E.coli in these fields outside the Dolph Briscoe prison in Dilley.

"We started talking about this around town and sure enough you've got people saying, I got sick, I've been getting sick," Asuncion said.

People like Monica Prado, who said, "I was having a lot of stomach problems that caused me to not go to work, it was that bad."

Linda Segovia developed peritonitis, which she blames on the water.

"I started getting stomach pain and high fevers, when I went to my appointment my nurse said I had an infection," Segovia said.

"We take care of our people and our customers come first and there is definitely no E.coli in our drinking water," Dilley City Manager Noel Perez said.

TCEQ confirms the drinking water is safe right now, but the agency has spent more than a year trying to get the city to fix problems at its water treatment facility.

We learned violations at the plant go back for at least three years.

"I wouldn't say we're avoiding TCEQ, but you know the amount involved is $10,000, which you don't just go and send to TCEQ. I would rather spend that $10,000, if we're going to spend it, to spend it locally," Perez said.

The City Manager wants to spend the fine money on a chlorination system that will treat the runoff, which currently drains in nearby fields.

"It's migratory birds, they go wherever they want to, they land there, I would have to have somebody sit there and scare them off full time, which the city can afford to," Perez said.

But Asuncion said city leaders have to do something soon.

"People here don't drink the water if they can afford not to. It smells funny and we just don't trust it," Asuncion said.

The city manager insisted he's working with TCEQ to come up with a solution.

As for the $12,000 penalty, it has not been paid.

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