Houston residents ordered to boil tap water after system outage


HOUSTON — The nation’s fourth-largest city on Sunday night ordered millions of residents to boil tap water, citing an early morning power outage at a city water treatment plant.

The city’s school system also announced late Sunday that it would be closed on Monday, at a minimum, as authorities are “monitoring the situation closely.” The 276 schools in the district serve nearly 200,000 students. Other smaller school districts in the area have also announced closures.

The 10:30 a.m. shutdown caused the water pressure at the plant to drop below required levels. This caused water pressure issues for some residents which were resolved later in the day, public works officials said in a statement.

More broadly, however, the outage challenged water security for 2.2 million customers. Houston’s order on Sunday night ordered residents to boil all water used for eating, drinking, bathing or brushing teeth and to avoid using water from refrigerators or ice makers .

It was unclear what caused the water plant power outage, why it took the city 10 hours to issue a boil water order or how quickly the order could be survey.

Houston resident Jacqueline Westman posted pics on twitter Grocery store shelves Sunday with only a few cases of water left: “There will be people in the communities who will be notified of the boil water advisory tomorrow and are unlikely to be able to purchase water from their nearby grocery store.

Westman also questioned why it took so long for the city to notify residents, especially those in low-income neighborhoods without internet access.

“Public Works has a huge budget and we all found out about it two hours ago. And those who are not on Twitter? she wrote. “We deserve answers.”

In response to complaints from residents who received the notice after cooking, brushing their teeth, showering or bathing their children, Houston Public Works posted on Twitter that there are “proper procedures and protocols in place before a boil water advisory can be issued”, and that he has spoken with state environmental officials” to ensure that all steps have been taken prior to the issuance of the notice”.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) said in a statement that he had been in touch with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) about the boil water order, which, according to Abbott, was due to a power outage at three water plants – two others. that Houston officials had cited.

Abbott said state environmental quality officials are “working to respond to the city’s request for assistance with prompt processing of water sample results” and noted that the state ” stands ready to review the results of the City of Houston water samples and offer any necessary technical assistance.”

“Texas is responding quickly to help bring Houston’s safe water supply back online,” Abbott said. posted on Twitter.

While areas surrounding Houston have issued boil water orders in recent months and other cities in Texas have issued them this year, Houston has not faced such a widespread emergency since freezing and the statewide electricity crisis in February 2021.

Houston is the largest city in Texas, led by Turner and other Democratic officials in a Republican-dominated state. Water problems have plagued several cities in recent years, from Baltimore to Flint, Michigan, and Jackson, Miss.

Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency launched an investigation into whether Republican-run Mississippi state agencies discriminated against the state capitol by refusing to fund improvements for its failing water system that resulted in water pump failures, loss of running water and boiling water. orders that extend from summer to fall.

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