The water treatment system is operating at one-third its usual capacity
The Austin, Texas, water utility has issued a city-wide boil water notice, following flooding in central Texas that caused water supply lakes to be filled with silt and sediment. While there has been no bacteria detected in the system yet, the supply water requires extended filtration to cope with the debris. This marks the water utility’s first-ever city-wide boil water notice, according to the Austin Statesman.
“The high level of debris, silt and mud requires extended filtration that slows the process of getting treated water into the system,” said Austin Water in a press release. “To provide necessary water pressure for fire protection, plants must distribute water at treatment levels not typical of the utility’s high standards for consumption.”
Under usual conditions, Austin Water is able to produce more than 300 million gpd, but the utility is now only able to produce approximately 100 million gpd, as reported by KUT.
“This isn’t a conclusion we came to lightly,” said Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk. “Unfortunately, this is simply a case of mother nature throwing more at the system than the system can currently process.”
In the Eanes school district, drinking fountains will be covered and bottled water will be delivered. Students are being encouraged to bring bottled water and cafeteria’s will not serve salads. Additionally, Austin Public Health said that restaurants and food providers are aware of the water issues.