City of Houston announces boil notice updates, timeline, and important tips
UPDATE - Tuesday, November 29: The City of Houston has lifted the boil water notice that it issued Sunday, November 27.
This comes as Houston Water confirms that it has taken the necessary corrective actions to restore the quality of the water distributed by this public water system used for drinking water or human consumption
Customers should flush their water system by running cold-water faucets for at least one minute, cleaning automatic ice makers by making and discarding several batches of ice, and running water softeners through a regeneration cycle.
Greater Houston and many surrounding areas are in the midst of a boil water notice after water pressure dropped below the City of Houston's required minimum of 20 PSI due to a power outage at the East Water Purification Plan around 10:30 am Sunday, November 27.
Under city guidelines and those set in part by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, city water pressure must be at least 20 DPI to ensure contaminants do not enter the flow. Notably, according to the director of Houston Water, Yvonne Williams Forrest, the city's water pressure never dropped to zero — but did fall below the regulatory limit.
Additionally, Forrest says the city boil notice could last until the early hours of Tuesday, November 29.
As reported by CultureMap news partner ABC13, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner provided a timeline for the outage on Sunday:
- 10:30 am: East water purification plants 1 and 2 lose power
- Plant 3 loses power, 14 sensors below 20 PSI for less than 2 minutes, 2 sensors below 20 PSI for 30 minutes, 5 sensors never fell below 20 PSI
- 12:15 pm: Power restored to plants 1 and 2
- 12:30 pm: Power restored to plant 3
- 3:30 pm: All sensors back to 35 PSI
Residents expressed outrage on social media that they weren't notified of the boil notice until late Sunday night. In response that same night, several school districts — including Houston ISD — announced they would close on Monday, November 28. ABC13 has the full list of schools here; parents should watch their school districts' social media for updates regarding classes resuming.
Concerned residents who are unsure if the boil notice affects their neighborhood can view this map that displays the entire affected.
Early Monday, the City of Houston announced on Twitter that the aforementioned Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) approved a plan by the Houston Public Works department to sample water and send to labs for testing.
🚨 The @TCEQ has approved the @HouPublicWorks water sampling plan.
Workers will begin collecting samples this morning and will do two complete sets to send to the lab for processing. https://t.co/uymRIVts6o
— City of Houston (@HoustonTX) November 28, 2022
Boil notices are nothing new to the Gulf Coast and Greater Houston areas, given the propensity for storms and flooding. But as longtime Houstonians know, there are few key things to remember when under a boil notice. These tips include:
Avoiding ice from an automated ice machines
The City of Houston also reminds residents to call 3-1-1 for any boil-notice-related questions.