North Texas Daily

Students in the dark about Denton water problem

Students in the dark about Denton water problem

February 04
03:28 2016

Julia Falcon | Staff Writer


Denton’s recent failure to sufficiently test its water for lead and copper was not relayed to the student body because the UNT facilities department was unaware of it. The city alerted Denton residents with a flier between Jan. 7 and Feb. 3.

The city is required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to test 50 samples of water over three years. There were no samples taken from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2015. The city is not sure of the quality of drinking water consumed during those dates, according to the flier that did not reach the student body.


A lab manager for Denton, Fritz Schwalm, said there was a change in the program usage, which is why the testing procedure was overlooked.

“We have never had a problem with our water in the past,” Schwalm said. “Since the early ‘90s, there haven’t been any concerns.”

UNT spokeswoman Margarita Venegas said once officials learned about the situation this week, they reached out to the city of Denton to get a better understanding what was going on.

“Water is being monitored and tested, and there are no issues with water quality and safety,” Venegas said. “Right now there is no need for a notice that may end up being misconstrued, but I want to assure people on campus that if they see water that is discolored, cloudy or murky to let the university know. If we see something like that, we ask the city of Denton to come out immediately and test the water to see if it is safe.” 

Kerr Hall resident Mesha McDonald was left in the dark about the water testing and said she wished she was given a heads up.

“I feel like if there is a problem with the water we should know about it,” McDonald said. “We’re drinking it and bathing in it so it’s important to know. There is a problem in Flint, [Michigan] and with that situation going on, I’m sure everyone is on edge with their water. Now that I know they haven’t been checking the water, I kind of want them to.”

Water is tested and treated to reduce lead and copper from pipes making its way into the water, and the city is currently planning to conduct water tests between June 1 and Sept. 30.

“Sampling has to occur during the summertime because the water is warmer and it is easier to take a sample,” Schwalm said. “The worst case scenario happens when the water is warm, and copper and lead is more likely to get in the water.”

For more information concerning water, contact Schwalm at (940) 349-8615 or

If there is a problem with water on campus, contact facilities at 940-565-2700.

Featured Image: The city is planning to conduct water tests to detect copper and lead between June 1 and Sept. 30 of this year. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

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