HOUSTON (KXAN) — A power outage at a water purification plant caused the City of Houston to issue a boil water notice throughout the entire city Sunday night. The notice was lifted on Tuesday morning.
The city said Sunday the water pressure dropped below 20 pounds per square inch, which is the minimum amount of pressure required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The city said the power outage at the East Water Purification Plant in Houston happened at 10:30 a.m.
“This was a situation that was not being overlooked. The decision was made out of an abundance of caution to issue a boil water notice,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday.
Residents had to boil the water for at least two minutes and let it cool before using it for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth and washing, the city said.
Turner said the city was not offering bottled water stations as of Monday morning.
If water samples don’t come back positive for contamination, Houston’s water department said the notice could be lifted by Tuesday.
“Our hope is by late tonight [Monday] or early tomorrow [Tuesday] morning, we’ll get a positive update from TCEQ, and the boil water notice can be lifted,” Turner said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he directed state agencies “to deploy necessary resources to support the city of Houston as they work to get a safe supply of water back online.” The Texas Division of Emergency Management and TCEQ are taking the lead on that charge, Abbott said.
“We have been in contact with Mayor Turner to offer the full support of the state, and we’re currently working to fulfill the city’s request for help with rapid turnaround of water sample results,” Abbott said.
The Houston Independent School District closed Monday due to the boil water notice and said it will “closely monitor the situation and provide additional updates regarding operations Monday.”
Houston’s not the only one with water issues
Houston’s mayor admits they had a similar power problem just last year. We asked TCEQ if similar equipment is used throughout Texas.
A spokesperson said, “the type of equipment used and reported in a public water system’s emergency preparedness plan is confidential.”
Still, water problems are happening across the state.
Zavalla in East Texas is recovering from having no water for more than a week — blamed on aging infrastructure.
In July, city officials in Odessa blamed a water outage on its more than 60-year-old system.
A 2021 American Society of Civil Engineers report gave Texas a C- for its drinking water infrastructure, stating it’s “mediocre…needs attention.”