All public schools in Houston will remain closed for a second day on Tuesday, after a power outage at one of the city’s purification plants prompted millions of residents to be advised to boil their drinking water.
Houston officials issued a formal water boil notice on Sunday after an outage caused water pressure at the East Water Purification Plant – which feeds into the city’s main water system, which serves about 2.2 million customers – To reduce the need for regulators to a minimum of 20 PSI. The low water pressure at the treatment plant increases the risk of bacteria and other harmful microbes entering the drinking water supply.
Although Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday the water was safe to use again, the city’s testing protocols mean the water boil notice will remain in effect until at least Tuesday.
The Houston Independent School District announced the building closures shortly after the notice was issued on Sunday evening, saying Twitter It will continue to monitor the situation. The district said Monday afternoon schools will be closed Tuesday.
“This decision has been made because of the logistical challenges caused by the notice. Those challenges prevent the district from being able to provide meals for its students and ensure that safe water is available to students and staff,” the district wrote Twitter,
The city issued a news release Sunday alerting residents of low pressure at the treatment plant. It recommended that everyone living in the affected area avoid drinking tap water without first bringing it to a “vigorous rolling boil” and then allowing it to boil for two minutes. People should follow this protocol before using the water to brush their teeth, or to wash their hands and face, the city said, noting that people with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to harmful bacteria. are susceptible to contaminants that may be present in the water supply.
“To ensure the destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and making ice must be boiled and cooled before being used for drinking water or purposes of human consumption,” Boil Water stated in the notice. “In lieu of boiling, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from any other suitable source for drinking water or purposes of human consumption.”
Late Sunday, Mayor Turner said city officials believed the water was safe to use, but regulatory requirements required that the water boil notice remain in effect until the Texas Environmental Quality The commission has not completed repeated tests on water samples and confirmed they are not contaminated.
“We believe the water is safe, but based on regulatory requirements we are obligated to issue a boil water notice when the pressure drops below 20 psi. The city is going to TCEQ for approval tonight,” the mayor tweeted. Handing over his plan to. “Later water samples will be taken and hopefully we’ll be all clear from TCEQ. The city will have to wait 24 hours from that point until the boil water notice is suspended. The earliest is tomorrow night or Tuesday morning will be too early.”