Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Monday, April 12, 1999

CORNYN ANNOUNCES $250,000 SETTLEMENT WITH UNSAFE WATER SUPPLIER

Supplier prohibited from working with water supply systems in the future

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn announced a $250,000 settlement with Walter Clinton Hankins, the owner of 30 public water supply systems in Tarrant, Denton, Hood, Johnson and Parker counties. Hankins is ordered to pay $200,000 to the state in civil penalties and $50,000 in attorneys' fees for violating state safe drinking water regulations.

With evidence compiled through Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission (TNRCC) inspections and citizen complaints, the Attorney General found that the 30 public water supply systems did not comply with state regulations regarding the supply of drinking water. Hankins' customers repeatedly experienced water rationing, and occasionally, customers had no water for days. Throughout last summer, one-third of Hankins' customers were on severe water rationing. These problems were not due to a water shortage but to deteriorating water system conditions and poor management.

In addition to the civil penalties and attorneys' fees, the settlement also contains a permanent injunction prohibiting Hankins from ever entering the water supply business ever again.

April 7, 1999, all 30 water supply systems were sold to Texas Water Services, Inc. (TWS), a subsidiary of Tecon. TWS had taken over the water supply systems on August 31, 1998 when a temporary injunction was first filed against Hankins. Since then, TWS has made a majority of the required improvements, but because of the scope of problems, the water systems will still take additional time to repair.

The settlement was filed April 8, 1999 in the 53rd Judicial District Court of Travis County.

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Contact Ted Delisi, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050