Houston Residents Under Boil Water Notice

Nov. 28, 2022
The notice came after a power outage at a water purification plant.

Following a power outage at the  East Water Purification Plant, millions of Houston residents were put under a boil water notice. 

According to the New York Times, the "order prompted officials in Texas’s largest city to close public schools for at least one day."

The notice is expected to remain in place until at least the morning of Tuesday, November 29. Houston Public Works, which serves approximately 2.3 million people is following state protocols and testing water samples. ABC 13 reported that for those who receive water from the City of Houston, they are being urged to boil tap water for at least two minutes before consumption.

Houston Public Works officials said they began receiving alters of water pressure dropping around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 27, the New York Times reported. A spokesperson for the department, Erin Jones,  said in some areas the pressure briefly dropped below required before recovering within about a minute. However, "because the water pressure had momentarily dipped below the threshold of 20 pounds per square inch, the public works department was required to send out a notice to boil water," Ms. Jones said to the New York Times.  

As of Monday morning, officials had not received any reports of customers getting sick from contaminated water, and the orders were issued out of an abundance of caution.

"The reason we're doing the boil water notice is the regulatory requirement. Our system maintained pressure, we never lost pressure fully, so there was never an opportunity for anything to enter our system," Houston Water Director Yvonne Williams Forrest said. "It just fell below the regulatory environments," she said. "Our system stayed pressurized, so there was no risk of anything overpressuring and entering the water system."

Now, officials must collect water samples and send them to a state laboratory for testing. The samples will be monitored for at least 18 hours before the boil water notice can be lifted.

According to ABC 13, 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 Houston Chronicle reported that the city is investigating what caused the outage, as weather was not deemed a factor. Jones told the Chronicle that the plant does have backup generators to help maintain pressure in an emergency, but they are not programmed to work automatically.

Jone told the New York Times that the last time a loss of pressure caused a boil-water notice was during the winter storms on 2021. Additionally, earlier in 2022, residents of Austin were asked to boil water because of issues at a treatment plant. 

About the Author

Katie Johns

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