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Houston boil water: Power outage at city’s water system plant forces notice for several more hours

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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A boil water notice has been issued for the City of Houston’s main water system after a water treatment plant experienced a power outage Sunday morning. City officials say it’s going to be several more hours before the problem gets resolved.

Houston Water Director Yvonne Williams Forrest said she thinks it could take until Tuesday morning for the notice to be lifted.

We will be live streaming Mayor Sylvester Turner’s press conference at about 10:30 a.m. where he will give an update on the notice.

On Sunday at 10:30 a.m., the water pressure dropped below the city’s required minimum of 20 PSI due to a power outage at the East Water Purification Plant, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Forrest said the city’s pressure system was never at zero, just below the regulatory limit. That pressure is important because it prevents anything from infiltrating the water system.

RELATED: Schools announce closures due to massive boil water notice

Over 2.3 million people are said to be impacted by this notice, which was sent out six hours after the initial outage.

The timeline of this issue has left many people questioning why it took so long for the notice to be issued.

“This is not an instantaneous automatic notice. Just because the power went out, doesn’t mean the power went out in the system. We had to verify that the pressure drop was real and reach out to TCEQ. There are a number of steps to take before issuing a boil water notice,” Forrest said.

City officials said they are testing the water across the city, collecting samples that will be submitted to the state.

If you get your water from the City of Houston, you are being urged to boil tap water for at least two minutes before consumption. That includes if you’re making coffee.

Follow these other tips as well:

  • Boil all water used for food, drinking, and brushing your teeth
  • Boil the water for at least 2-3 minutes
  • Do not use chilled water lines from on the refrigerators
  • Do not use ice from an automated ice machine
  • Governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to deploy necessary resources to support the City of Houston after it announced the boil water notice.

    “The State of Texas is immediately responding and deploying support to Houston as they work to get a safe supply of water back online,” 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. I thank TDEM and TCEQ for swiftly responding to help address this issue. We urge those that the boil water notice affects to continue heeding the guidance of local officials and take adequate precautions when boiling and using water. Together, we will ensure our fellow Texans are supported while the city’s water supply returns.”

    To see if you are in the impacted area, view the map pictured below

    Click this link to open the map in a full screen window.

    If you’re experiencing water pressure issues or have any questions concerning the matter, call 311 or email waterquality@houstontx.gov.

    For news updates, follow Charly Edsitty on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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