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Boil water order may be lifted Sunday

Friday, October 26, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros said Thursday he expects a boil water notice for water utility customers to remain in effect until Sunday evening. In the meantime, the utility is working to satisfy all of its internal requirements as well as Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regulations.

Although the city issued the boil water notice as a proactive measure early Monday, on Tuesday night that measure became mandatory as Austin’s water failed state safety standards. However, the situation has improved considerably since then, utility officials say.

“We don’t see anything that is overly difficult for us to accomplish,” Meszaros said. “We’re going to have to do a lot of bacteriological samples of our system and have those come back clear,” he said, before the state will allow the boil notice to be lifted. Meszaros explained that it takes 24 hours for the water samples to be tested, so utility officials are waiting for that information.

But all the signs seem to be positive. Meszaros explained, “Our system is running much steadier. … Our plant capacities are increasing, water quality is improving in the river, our effluent level in the water is very good now. We’re feeling cautiously optimistic, and we’re healing, and we’re going to get through this.”

Meszaros said the utility plans to come out of boil water notice and make sure everything is working properly before lifting the emergency water conservation order. The emergency was caused by prolonged flooding upstream, which resulted in heavy silt and debris overwhelming Austin’s three water treatment plants.

Here is a brief history of Water Treatment Plant 4 from the city’s perspective.

Photo by Jaime made available through a Creative Commons license.

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