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Defenders go undercover for water filter system sales pitch

Salesman: San Antonio drinking water is recycled, aquifer all dried up


SAN ANTONIO - Arminda Villareal listened to the sales pitch of door-to-door salesman Archie Ramirez for less than 10 minutes when she said she heard a slew of unbelievable comments.

Villareal said Ramirez's goal was to sell her a $5,000 water filtration system.

"He showed me a paper with all these lists of chemicals that are in recycled water, and I go, 'OK,' and he goes, 'That's what you're drinking.' I go, 'We don't drink recycled water, our water comes from the aquifer,' and he goes, 'No, the aquifer dried up, it's been dried up for years,'" Villareal said.

The Defenders made an appointment with Ramirez to see if he would make the same claims again.

He walked in, as he did the first time with Villareal, with a binder full of water quality articles and a briefcase with test tubes and some unidentified solution.

He proceeded to pour it in both test tubes.

"This is Aquafina. It don't have bacteria and chemicals. It's very, very clean," Ramirez said.

Ramirez then held up the test tube filled with tap water and said, "This is very, very toxic."

After the demonstration, he asked about tap water.

"What kind do you drink?" Ramirez said.

"SAWS (water)," a Defenders undercover producer answered. "But it's not recycled water, is it?"

"Yes," Ramirez countered.

The Defenders asked SAWS spokeswoman Anne Hayden about the claims that the tap water provided by SAWS is recycled.

She confirmed SAWS does use recycled water but only for manufacturing and irrigation.

She also confirmed that the aquifer is not dried up and it is San Antonio's primary source for water.

The Defenders found out Ramirez no longer works with the water filtration company listed on his business card.

His response? "That's no problem. I have my own business."

For a list of recent stories April Molina has done, click here.


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