City parks of­fi­cials to help bring back jugs

Water

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - Con­tin­ued from A

type of pro­to­zoan that causes gas­troin­testi­nal ill­ness, or other wa­ter­borne ill­nesses, said Vin­cent Delisi, as­sis­tant man­ager of en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices at the Austin/ Travis County Health and Hu­man Ser­vices De­part­ment. Be­cause the water sta­tions are un­staffed, some­one could also tam­per with the jugs.

“It’s not about mak­ing money for the city (through per­mits),” said Sara Hens­ley, di­rec­tor of the Austin Parks and Recre­ation De­part­ment. “It’s about pro­vid­ing healthy, safe drink­ing water.”

Hens­ley said the Parks De­part­ment sup­ports the water stands and would work with the shops that sup­ply the water to cover the roughly $400 in per­mits re­quired. The de­part­ment also plans to build sta­tions to se­cure and lock down the lids of the jugs, she said.

At least some of the water sta­tions should re­turn by mid-Jan­uary.

RunTex be­gan pro­vid­ing water on the trail about 20 years ago, with the ap­proval of Parks De­part­ment of­fi­cials. Rogue and Luke’s Locker added water sta­tions more re­cently. The run­ning shops pro­vide water, and the run­ners, they hope, no­tice who’s do­ing it.

Other than an anec­do­tal report of some­one once leav­ing a dead fish in one of the jugs near In­ter­state 35, an in­ci­dent that in­spired Rogue to se­cure its lids with zip ties, of­fi­cials said there had been no re­ported cases of tam­per­ing.

RunTex spends about $3,000 a month pro­vid­ing ice, water and cups as well as paying staff to dis­trib­ute the water, said owner Paul Car­rozza. He is ap­ply­ing for per­mits so he can con­tinue the ser­vice and ex­pects to put out tam­per-proof jugs next month.

“To have per­mits from the city that show we’re com­ply­ing with health stan­dards is ac­tu­ally an as­set for us,” Car­rozza said. “And this is the time of year to get it done, when the de­mand for elec­trolytes is low.”

The is­sue sur­faced a few months ago, af­ter sev­eral groups set up tem­po­rary stands on the trail to give out water and snacks and gain mar­ket­ing ex­po­sure, Hens­ley said. Af­ter re­ceiv­ing com­plaints, of­fi­cials de­cided they needed to bet­ter con­trol stands that popped up there. They found out per­mits were re­quired by law.

“Ac­cord­ing to state — not city — rules, water is a bev­er­age, and a bev­er­age is a food, and any food pro­vided for hu­man con­sump­tion must be per­mit­ted, even if it’s given

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