City parks officials to help bring back jugs
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