SAN ANGELO, Texas (KLST) – On February 8, 2021, the City of San Angelo started receiving complaints about an unusual odor in tap water in the Paul Ann area that led to a citywide advisory now to use water.

Tymn Combest, the City of San Angelo Water Plant Operations Manager, said, “Downtown was getting inundated with calls about odors so we knew immediately something was wrong. We made teams and we went out and we mapped all the industries in this part of town. Each team went to many industries, and did inspections looking for anything that could have caused a release like this.”

The next day, the city issued an emergency disaster declaration and started distributing bottled water.
Later, tests showed naphthalene in the water which was blamed on a failed backflow device.

The City Water Department still doesn’t know the exact cause or source location of the contamination but continues to take steps to prevent similar issues in the future.

Allison Strube, City of San Angelo Water Utilities Director, said, “Since February of last year, we have added three individuals to our city organization who were approved by City Council. They are going to do nothing but city inspections on customer service inspections. That means, those individuals will be making sure that backflow devices are installed at the proper location, that those devices are being tested annually, and that we have eyes on these facilities all across town so we are better protected and learning from our lessons from last February.”