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

Top Ten Reasons to clean your potable water storage tanks in 2021

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 tank and tower cleaning rates are affordable and we have special pricing for tiny tanks under 10,000 gallons.

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*

Check out our new video series on YouTube. Tap-Talk explores our water distribution systems as we take you along and let you see what we see as we inspect and clean municipal water storage tanks. Our cameras let you see what is inside, we never reveal the utility we are working for or our exact location unless our customer gives us permission. Episode #1 is posted below, less than six minutes, I explain what we do and how we do it, talk about my background and what led me to start my company in 1997.

Episode Two:

There is a serious danger lurking in many water systems. Join me, along with microbiologists and a former EPA drinking water chief as they discuss the problem. If you like this video please give us a thumbs up and SHARE it! It is important that water utility managers understand the importance of keeping water storage tanks clean. PLEASE SHARE!

Episode Three:

Wallie is a Deep Trekker DT640VAC robot crawler we use to clean water storage tanks that have deep water. The Deep Trekker DT640 robot crawler can work it water up to 165 feet deep. To see more check out our blog at http://www.tankdiver.us. To contact our office please call 817-377-4899 or contact Robert at perrinsales@gmail.com

Want More? This video is a 15 minute look back at some of the jobs we have done over the past three years.

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

e-mail Robert Perrin at perrinsales@gmail.com

Our Best Photo of 2020

Since 1997 we have been inspecting and cleaning potable water storage tanks and towers. Our crews take hundreds and often over a thousand photos a week. Of course, most are a little on the boring side documenting the inspection points of water tanks and towers. Occasionally we turn the cameras on ourselves as we do the work and those are the photos I use to promote our service.

Every time I see this photo I think about how it nails down what we do. I think it was the best of 2020. It is one of our divers cleaning a GST potable water storage facility. The tanks are always a lot cleaner when we are done, about half way through you can see a lot of sediment on the floor and less that perfectly clear water, it is a real working photo, not something produced in perfect pool water conditions.

Here are some other photos I found to be impressive in 2020 I hope you like them too.

Our Favorite ROBOT Tank Cleaning Photos!

Water Tank Inspection. Water Tank Cleaning.

KEEPING DRINKING WATER SAFE

Our goal is to get people thinking about their water, and allow utility officials to understand the choices they have when it comes to inspecting and cleaning potable water storage tanks and towers. 

For more information about our inspection or cleaning services See: www.watertankinspection.com

Be sure to subscribe to our new video series Tap Talk at: www.taptalk.blog

Like our FaceBook page at: https://www.facebook.com/ronperrinwatertech

Contact Information: Phone 817-377-4899 E-mail perrinsales@gmail.com

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.

Tap Talk: What’s in Your Water? Ep. 3-

It is Friday, so it must be time for number three in our “Tap Talk” series. “Tap Talk” will explore what we typically find in municipal drinking water tanks and why keeping water tanks clean is important. There is a serious danger lurking in America’s water systems. Join me, (Ron Perrin), along with microbiologists and a former EPA employee, Len Pardee, as we discuss the problem. This episode takes a look at robot cleaning of water tanks, take a few minutes and check it out and leave a comment.

WALLIE is our Deep Trekker DT640VAC robot crawler we use to clean water storage tanks like the standpipe behind me that have deep water. The Deep Trekker DT640 robot crawler can work in water up to 165 feet deep. Today we are going to take you to several different standpipe tanks so you can see him work. Be sure to subscribe to this blog to see our next post. You cal also see all videos at www.taptalk.blog.

Keeping tanks clean is very important, but before you can fix a problem you must know it exists. Water tank inspections are essential to properly manage any municipal water system. Big or small, if you do not know there is a problem with your water system, you can not make plans to take care of it. Sediment builds up in almost all water systems over time. Sediment on the floor of the tank can be a breeding ground for bacteria, protozoa, viruses and a host of other contaminants. In some tanks this soft sedimentation becomes a safe habitat where contaminants can grow protected from the chlorine and other treatment chemicals. As billions of bacteria form in the sediment treatment chemicals can be depleted, causing utilities to use more and more until they reach, or exceed, legal limits.

Simple tank cleaning remains the best solution.

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.

Tap Talk: What’s in Your Water? Ep. 2-

Be sure to check out number two in our new video series. “Tap Talk” will explore what we typically find in municipal drinking water tanks and why keeping water tanks clean is important. There is a serious danger lurking in America’s water systems. Join me, (Ron Perrin), along with microbiologists and a former EPA employee, Len Pardee, as we discuss the problem.

For several years we have been working on a feature length documentary with the working title, “Out of sight, Out of mind – What is in your water”. This episode features parts from that film. Keeping tanks clean is very important, but before you can fix a problem you must know it exists. Water tank inspections are essential to properly manage any municipal water system. Big or small, if you do not know there is a problem with your water system, you can not make plans to take care of it. Sediment builds up in almost all water systems over time. Sediment on the floor of the tank can be a breeding ground for bacteria, protozoa, viruses and a host of other contaminants. In some tanks this soft sedimentation becomes a safe habitat where contaminants can grow protected from the chlorine and other treatment chemicals. As billions of bacteria form in the sediment treatment chemicals can be depleted, causing utilities to use more and more until they reach, or exceed, legal limits.

Simple tank cleaning remains the best solution.

Water Tank & Tower Inspection and Cleaning

Since 1997 Ron Perrin Water Technologies, Inc. has been a leader in the inspection and cleaning of potable water storage tanks and towers. We are based out of Fort Worth, Texas with personnel that also call Houston home.

We work in over a dozen states with the bulk of our customers located in Texas. We offer the most information for the lowest possible cost. Our most popular inspection uses a remote underwater camera. With this close look below the waterline we are able to give our customers a first hand look at their water storage facilities with no disruption in service.

For a free quote call 817-377-4899, use the free quote form on the right side of this blog or e-mail a list of your tanks to perrinsales@gmail.com.

Ron Perrin Water Technologies, Inc. may also be reached toll free at: 1-888-481-1768

Tank inspection camera
water tank inspection camera (C) 2010 Ron Perrin Water Technologies

In addition to our remote camera inspection we also offer a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) inspection and for the most detail our potable water diver crew is available.

Water Tank Inspection ROV
DEEP TREKKER ROV (c) 2014 Ron Perrin

All of our inspections cover all AWWA and State inspection requirements documented with photos of each inspection point a video that covers the exterior and interior roof and underwater areas. The remote underwater camera also called a drop camera inspection is a excellent inspection tool for smaller and mid-sized water storage facilities. The ROV is useful when specific areas need to be looked at or to get to the rear of larger facilities.

The dive crew may be the best choice if a more detailed report is needed or if additional work is needed such as tank cleaning or leek repair. We have a new service that was developed exclusively for standpipe type water storage tanks. Standpipe tanks have deeper water than most other tanks making it extremely hazardous for divers. Our cleaning robot offers a unique way to remove sediment and allow your tank to stay in-service. See our other blog post for more information and photos.

Ron Perrin Potable Water Diver Photo (c) 2020 RonPerrin.us

Pricing is quick and free, simply give us a call toll free at 1-888-481-1768. If you prefer using a fax just fax a list of your tanks to 817-246-1740. Be sure to include exactly what type of inspection you would like us to quote. We will need to know the gallon size of the tanks and if they are GST, EST, clear-wells (underground) or standpipe type.

If you prefer to email your request send it to perrinsales@gmail.com.

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

Meet Wallie Our Standpipe Cleaning Robot

“Wallie” is our DT640 VAC Deep Trekker Crawler Robot that we have purchased to clean standpipes. Standpipes typically have deeper water than other potable water storage tanks, with water depth often over 100 feet. Wallie can operate safely in water up to 168 feet deep. This will be a big asset to water utilities that do not want to take their standpipe out of service to remove the sediment from the floor of the tank.

It is important to keep potable water storage tanks and towers clean. Sediment builds up over time. A layer of sediment in your water storage tank or tower may allow bacteria, protozoa, viruses or other organisms to get a foothold in your water storage tank, grow, and become a community health problem.

Keeping your tank clean will also save you money! Our customers report that they use less chlorine to meet water quality standards after we clean their storage facility.

Since 1997, Ron Perrin Water Technologies, Inc. has been a leader in underwater inspections and tank cleanings. We offer a wider range of inspection and cleaning choices depending on your needs. Our underwater inspections may be performed with a Remote Underwater Video Camera, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), or for the most detail, we also offer a Diver Inspection. We have a Small Tank Cleaning Service for tanks from 1,000 to 10,000 gallons, Robot Cleaning for Standpipes and our Potable Water Dive Crew is a good fit for most other facilities. Call today for a free quote: 1-888-481-1768.

(c) Ron Perrin Water Technologies, Inc. 2020 www.ronperrin.us