In 2020 Texas officials Found Brain-Eating microbe in water supply

Sep 26, 2020 Texas residents warned of tap water tainted with brain-eating microbe. Texas officials have warned residents of some communities near Houston to stop using tap water because it might be tainted with a deadly brain-eating microbe.

The Guardian Reported:

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) warned the Brazosport Water Authority late on Friday of the potential contamination of its water supply by Naegleria fowleri.

The commission issued an advisory warning people not to use tap water for any reason except to flush toilets in Lake Jackson, Freeport, Angleton, Brazoria, Richwood, Oyster Creek, Clute and Rosenberg.

Those communities are home to about 120,000 people. Also affected are the Dow Chemical works in Freeport, which has 4,200 employees, and the Clemens and Wayne Scott state prison units, which have 2,345 inmates and 655 employees.

PFAS have been detected in the drinking water of more than 1,400 communities in 49 states, according to research.

The advisory will remain in place until the Brazosport authority’s water system has been thoroughly flushed and tests on water samples show the system’s water is safe to use. It said in a statement that it was unclear how long it would be before the tap water was safe.

See the full story here:


With everything going on last year I missed this story. My take on this story is one of the reasons I got into diving water tanks in the first place. To explain why this story made me think about how I came to build a company that puts divers into water storage tanks I need to tell you something about myself and even about my parents.

In the early 1990s I was working as a Texas police officer, and my passion was SCUBA Diving. My love of SCUBA Diving goes back even farther. My dad was Charles B. Perrin, he passed in 2016 at the age of 78. He claims to have purchased the first Aqua-Lung in Fort Worth in the mid 1950’s. He had to order it from a welding supply long before the first SCUBA store opened in Texas. Both my mom and dad spent time water-skiing and SCUBA diving on Possum Kingdom Lake (PK) west of Fort Worth on the Brazos River. They were both civil servants: my dad worked for the IRS and my Mom was an Executive for the Corps of Engineers. Raising their family in the 60’s-80″s this solid middle class income gave them enough extra money to not only afford to give us a great middle class lifestyle, it also allowed them to purchase a second home, something that seems out of reach for most of us today.

They purchased a lake house on Possum Kingdom Lake (PK) where I spent most of the weekends of my youth. Even before they purchased the first lake property my dad had taken me out to PK in a small fishing boat with his one set of Scuba Gear and instructed me how to SCUBA dive. In 1971, I was 12 years old. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) was not even founded until 1966. My dad predated standard training practices that would come along after his diving years were done. With no formal courses available my parents taught themselves how to dive with the help of “The Skin Diver” (later renamed Skin Diver Magazine). Sea Hunt starring Lloyd Bridges*, was also a favorite TV program in our home. I personally would not get formally trained and certified until the early 1980’s.

I can still remember my first dive. I was so excited. It was a clear summer day and our 14′ “Little Dude” fiberglass fishing boat was anchored in a remote area over crystal clear water about 10′ deep. I put dad’s tank, mask and fins on just like Lloyd Bridges. I checked the regulator which gave me that great scuba diving sound as cold compressed air shot into my mouth from the 72 cubic inch steel tank strapped to my back. I sat on the side of the boat and dad explained to me how to make entry by going over backwards.

“Hold on to your mask,” he said as he pushed me over the side. The water was cold on my hot sun soaked skin, my heart rate shot up and I was breathing was as rapid as I could breath! I was sure I was going to die as I tried to get my head above water. Turning myself around underwater I shot back to the surface with all my strength but I was stopped by my dad putting his hand on my head and holding me underwater until my breathing finally slowed down and my initial panic subsided. My dad was the worst SCUBA instructor ever! Despite that first dive experience that could best be described as violent or even brutal, I fell in love with diving. By the time I was 14 I was exploring the lake on my own spearfishing in the many coves and inlets. I never had a buddy to dive with but I always had a sharp knife in case I got tanged in an abandoned trout line that seemed to be everywhere I wanted to dive.

Growing up on the lake the brain-eating ameba Naegleria fowleri is something I have been aware of most of my life at least as far back as I can remember. Diving and Water Skiing were my favorite things to do on the lake. In late summer the river flow would slow down. The water going through the dam would be reduced and water become more stagnant. At the same time the hot summer sun warms the water. Naegleria fowleri  loves warm water and in late summer Texas lake water gets very warm. I remember news stories from water skiers (usually teenaged children) getting the organism in their nose and dying from it, going back to my teenage years. When the lake level went down too low we stopped diving and water skiing.

When cooler weather arrives in mid September, Naegleria fowleri lies dormant in the sediment at the bottom of lakes and riverbeds, which is why experts advise that you not stir up any more of that sludge/sediment than necessary. First discovered in 1899, Naegleria fowleri is a protist pathogen, known to infect the central nervous system and produce primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.

In 1991 I discovered that the American Water Works Association had a standard to put scuba divers into drinking water. Using a drysuit and a full face mask, a diver could be totally isolated from the water supply. To meet the standard that has been adopted by the USEPA and TCEQ the diver must also be washed down with a 200ppm chlorine solution. Taking the tank out of service and then decontaminating the entire facility with very expensive and time consuming super chlorination procedure. Decontamination of the diver is much more economical. In addition other advantages are the diver can move around all underwater areas. Equipped with a good underwater lighting and camera system the diver can document the condition of the facility and deliver a great inspection report with no water loss or disruption in service. After I mastered diving in potable water I saw a common problem potable water tanks have – over time, sediment collects on the floor of tanks.

I read everything I could about tank sediment. In 1990 the National Drinking Water Advisory Council stated that drinking water contamination from bacteria, protozoa and viruses may be the biggest challenge for drinking water professionals in the future. The future is here, over time almost all tanks collect sediment. Tank sediment can be a safe habitat for a wide host of microbes including crypto and Naegleria fowleri.

When I ask about sediment removal I was told the standard method was a bucket and a shovel. We immediately started working on a better way. First using some methods developed for moving sand to look for treasure off-shore a much simpler method was developed by 1999. We now use a 3″ trash pump to clean most ground storage tanks and with water towers we simply use gravity to create all the suction we need to quickly remove sediment from the floor of the tank. Cleaning water storage tanks is not as common as you may think. Our company inspects over seven hundred tanks a year. Every week we find tanks that have never been cleaned. Currently there are no USEPA rules on when tanks should be cleaned. Texas has administrative rules under 290.46 requiring all potable water storage to be inspected annually. However, Texas along with most other states, have no rules on how often water storage tanks should be cleaned. The interior of water tanks often remain, “Out-of-sight and out-of-mind”.

Photo: Potable Water Diver wearing a dry suit and Kirby Morgan B-17 Diving Helmet

KEEPING WATER STORAGE TANKS CLEAN IS IMPORTANT

This story is about communities on the lower part of the Brazos River that have had Naegleria fowleri turn up in their drinking water system. The standard remediation for this is often to perform a chlorine burn that increases the chlorine to a high level. This kills all contaminants it comes into contact with. So everything on the surface in the water system that is underwater, including all tanks and water mains is sanitized. But what about the contaminants that remain hidden under a layer of sediment in the water storage tank? Administrators often are unaware of any tank sediment that may still be lurking in water storage tanks again, Out-of-sight and out-of- mind. The chlorine burn will kill all contaminants on the surface of the sediment. This is why proper tank inspections that can determine the actual sediment levels are so important. One half to three inches of sediment is very common. Without removing the sediment, contaminants remain in the tank and will continue to be a problem in the future. All water storage tanks should be on a cleaning schedule. Some tanks may need to be cleaned annually while others may be able to be on a three or five year program.

Photo Above: Remotely controlled Cleaning Robot being deployed on a 158′ standpipe water storage tank

First established in 1997, Ron Perrin Water Technologies, Inc. has been a leader in the underwater inspection and cleaning of water storage tanks and towers. We offer three different inspection methods: 1) remote camera, 2) Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and 3) Potable Water Diver. Our divers are commercially trained from great schools like The Ocean Corporation where I serve on the Educational Advisory Board. We offer diver cleaning with no disruption in service and minimal water loss on ground and elevated tanks. For standpipes over 70 feet tall we have a Robot Cleaning Service.

See more about what we do and how we do it at our website at: www.ronperrin.com.

Also check out our new video series: www.TapTalk.blog.


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*Sea Hunt is an American action adventure television series that aired in syndication from 1958 to 1961 and was popular for decades afterwards. Click Hear to watch Sea Hunt

Other References:

Naegleria fowleri is responsible for the death of a 6-year-old boy in Lake Jackson, Texas, and environmental officials say the city will be fighting the pathogen for months TPO ARTICLE HERE.

Texas Monthly – “The Risk Of Exposure To Brain-Eating Amoeba Spikes In The Summer Months”

Do you need to inspect your own water storage tank? See our DIY Guide to Inspecting Potable Water Storage Tanks. HERE: www.watertankinspection.co

Water Tank Inspector Wanted

WATER TANK INSPECTOR WANTED

We are seeking experienced Water Utility Worker to perform tank inspections and general water tank maintenance procedures. No criminal history and good driving record are required.  Confined space and fall protection training is required before employment and may be done online.  Underwater camera and ROV training will also be provided.

Preference is given to persons who have climbing experience. You must be in good physical condition and able to climb 150ft straight ladders on water towers. We are only taking applications from persons who currently live in the north-central Texas area (in or near the DFW metro area). We have a full-time opening working out of our Main Office in Ft Worth, Tx. This position requires frequent out-of-town travel (2-5 days a week, often work on a 4 day work week with 3 days off). A valid Driver’s license and a good driving record are required. For additional information and application see our blog at http://www.taptalk.blog

Requirements.

  • Must be able to work at heights, we inspect and clean water storage towers.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Must have high school diploma or equivalent
  • Must have a valid driver license
  • Must be able to pass a pre-employment background check
  • Must be able to pass a pre-employment drug screen
  • Must be legally authorized to work in the United States
  • Must live in, or relocate to, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

Preferred Qualifications.

  • Confined Space Training
  • Fall Protection Training
  • OSHA – 10 Hour or 30 Hour Construction Course certificate
  • O2 Provider certification
  • NDT certification(s)
  • Rigging

This is a general job description. In some cases, it may not describe all tasks that may be assigned. We maintain a drug-free workplace. The position requires the successful completion of drug screening and background checks before going on some Federal Contracts, failure to pass these checks may result in dismissal before or after completion of a probationary period.

Diversity Statement (EEO)
Ron Perrin Water Technologies, Inc. is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Qualified applicants receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin or ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age, disability, gender identity, genetic information, service in the military, or any other status protected by law.

We are looking for persons currently living in or near north-central Texas (in or near DFW). For an interview Call 817-377-4899 (voice only).

Job Types: Full-time, Part-time out of town travel is required.

Pay: $120.00 – $150.00 per day

COVID-19 considerations:
We perform weekly covid 19 tests on employees. Currently, our staff is 100% vaccinated. We are seeking someone who has or is willing to get a Covid-19 vaccination.

Inspector climbs 750,000 gallon water storage tower.

The Water Tower and Outer Space Connection with Neil deGrasse Tyson

It turns out that Neil deGrasse Tyson @neilty is a fan of Water Towers.

In this short video Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how water towers work and their connection to outer space. Neil has spent his life in the study of astronomy, and while it is true SPACE is the final frontier, the inner space of a municipal water tank is where the battle for the universe is actually being fought. Every day my divers work in a space with no oxygen. We remove microscopic bacteria and a wide range of other contaminants threatening the health of our drinking water here on earth.

Sediment on the interior floor of a water storage tank is a breach and can be a serious threat to pubic health. Bacteria, protozoa and even viruses have been found to use tank sediment as a safe habitat.

Keeping your tanks clean will help keep your water system safe.  Are your tanks and towers on a cleaning schedule?  We want to help you keep your water tanks and towers clean and healthy! Do not allow dirt that builds up on the floor of your potable water storage tanks to be a safe habitat to grow GiardiaLegionella or viruses like Norovirus.  Our water tower cleaning rates start at only $2,450.00. Affordable protection for your water storage tanks affordable safety for the people you serve.

Call today for a free quote 817-377-4899.

The  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list these as the top 10 Causes – Outbreaks in Public Water Systems*

Since 1997 Ron Perrin Water Technologies, Inc. has been a leader in the inspection and cleaning of potable water storage tanks and towers.

We serve municipal water utilities, federal parks and prisons and private industry. We deploy underwater cameras or remotely operated vehicles to perform inspections of drinking water tanks.

Our methods save our customers millions of gallons of treated drinking water every year.  If the facility needs to be cleaned our potable water dive team can remove tank sediment with minimal water loss and little to no disruption in service. For more information visit: www.watertankinspection.com

To get a cleaning proposal please call 817-377-4899 or contact Robert at perrinsales@gmail.com.

Ron Perrin Water Technologies, Inc. Underwater Services for 2021

As 2020 came to an end we wanted to look back at some of our jobs and let you see some of the odd jobs we have done along with our primary services of inspecting and cleaning potable water storage tanks and towers. We have a new video series called Tap Talk that will tag along with us as we inspect and clean potable water storage with divers, underwater cameras and even a ROBOT Tank cleaner we named WALLIE.

Check out all episodes at www.TapTalk.blog

Underwater ROBOT Tank Cleaning

Today we are cleaning a 98 foot tall standpipe in Oklahoma. Because of the water depth we deployed our Deep Trekker DT640 robot crawler we call “Wallie”. This little guy can work in water up to 165 feet deep. We have developed this method specifically for cleaning Standpipe type potable water tanks. Our Potable Water Dive Crew is a great option for cleaning ground tanks (GST) and Water Towers (EST) and you can read about that service on our other blog posts and on our web page at www.watertankinspection.com.

The AWWA recommends annual water tank inspections. In Texas and several other states water storage tanks are required to be inspected annually. We have three uniquely different underwater inspection methods that allow full interior and exterior inspections while the facility stays fully operational: 1) our remote camera inspection is the most economical using our custom built underwater camera and lighting system to get a good look at the interior of the tank from the interior roof all the way down to the floor where we can estimate your sediment levels; 2) Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) – Our Deep Trekker DTG2 is able to swim through the water like an underwater drone getting to the back of very large tanks for a more comprehensive inspection; 3) Potable Water Diver inspection – Diver inspections are used to look at specific areas or when a repair or tank cleaning is also needed. Please call 817-377-4899 to get a free quote.

Serving the Water Utility Industry Since 1997

We have been working for the VA Hospital in Kerrville since 1999. We recently cleaned both of their towers again. The older concrete tank was built after WWI, the modern-looking metal tower was built after WWII. We have some customers like VA Kerrville that have been using our service for over 20 years. We are here when you need us, for a free quote call us toll-free, 1-888-481-1768 or e-mail perrinsales@gmail.com.

Ron Perrin at VA Hospital – Kerrville, Texas (c)2015 ronperrin.us
VA Hospital – Kerrville, Texas (c)2015.ronperrin.us

Our potable water dive crew is able to enter the water system to perform cleaning and other minor repairs with no disruption in service. This has always been a top priority at VA Hospital Kerrville. No mater what your situation we can provide inspection and cleaning services that will keep your water flowing. For more information see our web page at: www.ronperrin.us.

We are here when you need us, for a free quote call us toll-free, 1-888-481-1768 or e-mail perrinsales@gmail.com.

Divers Beware COVID-19 may be coming to your family gathering

As we enter into the 2020 Holiday Season I wanted to share two stories with my dive crew, so I thought I would put it on this public blog to share it with everyone. This year is truly different than any other we have lived through. For the first time, instead of getting together with the people we love and care about, we are staying home and encouraging them to stay home which may be the best way we have to protect them and ourselves.

First Story:

ARLINGTON, Texas — It was just going to be a small, casual get-together – a Nov. 1 birthday party with fajitas and cake for a cousin of Alexa Aragonez.

Alexa didn’t attend, but she gave her 57-year-old mother a ride to the party.

A total of 12 members of the Aragonez family were there.

Within days, all of them had COVID. 

12 went to the party 15 later tested positive for COVID-19 See the story HERE.

Officials say thanksgiving may be the biggest spreader event of COVID yet.

Second Story:

Even if you get it and get over it, COVID-19 may not be done with you as you can see in this 60 Minutes report. While most will recover, some die and even more have symptoms that keep them from getting back to normal.

Doctors are still searching for answers to why a portion of people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 are still suffering symptoms months later.

Do everything you can to stay safe. For most of us that means a lonely Thanksgiving holiday. That is so much better than spreading the disease.

CDC Recommendations:

Considerations for Small Gatherings of Family and Friends

Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. Your household is anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment). This can include family members, as well as roommates or people who are unrelated to you. People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk. READ More from the CDC HERE:

Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings

Happy Thanksgiving from the office crew!

One last thing: THANKSGIVING in the time of CORONA – How Are Americans Avoiding COVID This Thanksgiving? | The Daily Social Distancing Show with Trevor Noah: Click Here: https://youtu.be/LhUmg46u7y0

“The most important thing about Thanksgiving is to make sure you are around for the next one” – Trevor Noah.

I hope everyone has a Great Holiday, Stay informed, and Stay Safe!

Congratulations to ROBERT PERRIN, SSH

Robert Perrin, SSH is celebrating 10 years at Ron Perrin Water Technologies, Inc. Robert became our Safety Manager in 2014 after earning his Specialist in Safety and Health (SSH) certification from the Environmental Training Institute at UTA. Robert is also our ROV operator and works in sales when he is not in the field. Robert has been doing a great job at our company and I hope he is around for 20 more years!

If you would like to talk about inspecting or cleaning a water storage tank connect with Robert on e-mail: perrinsales@gmail.com or call 817-377-4899

Something New

In March of 2020, the Region 8 USEPA posted a new water tank inspection check list for indian tribes in Wyoming.

The USEPA is in a unique position to supervise indian tribes in the USA. For the rest of us our states are responsible for monitoring and enforcing the national drinking water regulations.

The Finished Water Storage Tank Inspection/Cleaning Checklist directs Tribal systems to use the Wyoming state checklist.

The Finished Water Storage Tank Inspection/Cleaning Checklist

The problem is that every state cam make their own rules for water tank inspection.

If you want to know what the USEPA says about potable water tank inspections one of the best white papers they have is

This 22 page document recommends and I quote-

“Recommended tank cleaning and inspection procedures have been developed by AWWA and AWWARF to address these issues”.

If you need a simple guide to inspect your potable water storage tank or tower we have developed this helpful web site:

www.watertankinspection.co

A DIY Guide to Inspecting Potable Water Storage Tanks.

GST – Ground Storage Tank Inspection                                                                                      EST – Elevated Storage Tank Inspection

Why Isn’t ChlorineTreatment Enough?

I had some water utility workers ask me, “Why isn’t chlorine treatment of potable water enough to keep water safe? Why should we worry about cleaning tanks when we already use chlorine?”

Chlorine works great as long as there is not a breach in the tank. When there is a breach like a hole in the top that lets birds and insects inside the tank, the chlorine can not keep up. This is why annual tank inspections are so important. People have died from this scenario, see: “Salmonella Outbreak in Alamosa, Colorado“. According to USEPA officials a sediment build up on the interior floor of a water storage tank is another type of breach. Bacteria like Legionella, protozoa like Cryptosporidium, and a wide range of viruses including Norovirus can hide and GROW in the tank sediment.

Do you know what the #1 cause of municipal water contamination is? According to the CDC it is a microscopic parasite called Giardia. The sediment becomes a perfect habitat providing both shelter and food for Giardia and many other microorganisms to grow. In time, the contaminants can reach a point where they overwhelm chlorine or any other disinfectant you may be using. Keeping tanks clean keeps your drinking water safe.

Giardia- Photo CDC website

Giardia- Photo CDC website

Top 10 Causes – Outbreaks in Public Water Systems*

For a complete listing of water-related surveillance data, see CDC’s Surveillance Reports for Drinking Water-associated Disease & Outbreaks.

A professional potable water Dive Crew can remove tank sediment along with everything that is growing in it with minimal water loss.  The diver is sealed in a DRY suit so there is no human contact with the water supply.  He can then enter the tank and make quick work of removing tank sediment and any contaminant that may be hiding in it.  Give us a call toll free at 1-888-481-1768 for a free quote.

For more information on Municipal Water Tank Cleaning see: Ron Perrin Water Technologies web Site: www.rpwt.us.

Content source: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionNational Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases