Water Main Break Forces Boil Water Notice in San Angelo (2024)

What is a boil water notice?

A boil water notice is required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) if there is a reduction in water pressure in the public water system.

Boil water notices are issued to alert the public that the safety of the drinking water may have been compromised. This is most commonly due to breaks in water mains in the distribution system. Treatment technique violations such as low chlorine residual or high turbidity at the water treatment plant can also trigger a boil water notice but are extremely rare and have never occurred in San Angelo.

When a water main break occurs, it does not necessarily trigger a boil water notice. First, the water pressure must have dropped below 20 psi. Most water main breaks are repaired under pressure; therefore, no boil water notice is needed. Also, some water main breaks that have less than 20 psi can be isolated with valves and repaired. In these cases, the isolated section of water pipe will be flushed, disinfected with chlorine and sampled for bacteria to ensure the water remains safe. Only when a water main break drops below 20 psi and cannot be adequately isolated, repaired and disinfected will a boil water notice be required.

Whenever a boil water notice is issued, the City must inform customers that the water in the affected areas of the public water system should be boiled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. During a boil water notice, the City is in constant contact with the TCEQ. A boil water notice cannot be rescinded until repairs have been completed, mains have been flushed, chlorine residual is acceptable and water samples have been collected and tested acceptable. A boil water notice normally lasts 24 to 48 hours due to the time needed to repair the leak, flush the lines and collect and test water samples. The water samples alone require a minimum 18 hours for completion.This process can take up to 1-2 days. These types of samples do not have to be sent off to Austin and can be processed locally.

The City of San Angelo will provide updates on the progress as they become available. Public notification will be given when a boil water notice is rescinded.

Replacing water infrastructure

The City is actively replacing old water mains and spends between $4-6 million annually repairing old water and sewer lines. One of the components of the $80-million plan to rebuild San Angelo’s worst streets is replacing water and sewer mains beneath those roadways. This has been done on MLK Boulevard, Bell Street and will soon be underway on the Chadbourne Street project. There are 670 miles of water mains in San Angelo. Replacing the entire water infrastructure in the city is not something that can be done overnight.

What to do during a boil water notice

Restaurants

  • Guidance for Retail Food Establishments
  • All food facilities / establishments including bars, restaurants, supermarkets, hotels, caterers, cafeterias in schools, nursing homes and hospitals, charitable food facilities, kitchens in non-profit institutions, food manufacturers and distributors and anyone else involved in the commercial preparation and distribution of food, water and beverages are affected by the boil water advisory issued.

Residents (CDC guidance)

If your local health authorities issue aboil wateradvisory, you should use bottled water or boil tap water because your community’s water is, or could be, contaminated with germs that can make you sick.

Advisories may include information about preparing food, beverages, or ice; dishwashing; and hygiene, such as brushing teeth and bathing. Standard recommendations usually include this advice:

  • Use bottled orboiled waterfor drinking, and to prepare and cook food.
  • If bottled water is not available, bringwater to a full rolling boil for 1 minute(at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for 3 minutes), then allow it to cool before use.
  • Boil tap water even if it is filtered.
  • Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator.
  • Use boiled or bottled water for drinking, cooking, making ice, washing fruits and vegetables, brushing teeth, making baby formula, bathing and cleaning.

Handwashing

  • In many situations, you can use tap water and soap to wash hands. Follow the guidance from your local public health officials.
  • Be sure to scrub your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and rinse them well under running water.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

RO water systems

  • Due to variations in RO systems and how they are installed in residents’ homes, we still advise residents to boil their water as a precaution. The RO self-fill water stations also fall under the boil water notice if located within the area of a notice.

Bathing and showering

  • Be careful not to swallow any water whenbathing or showering.
  • Use caution when bathing babies and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water.

Brushing teeth

  • Brush teeth with boiled or bottled water. Do not use untreated tap water.

Washing dishes

  • If possible, use disposable plates, cups, and utensils during a boil water advisory.
  • Household dishwashers generally are safe to use if the water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65.55°Celsius), or if the dishwater has a sanitizing cycle.
  • Sterilize all baby bottles.
    • To wash dishes by hand:
      • Wash and rinse the dishes as you normally would using hot water.
      • In a separate basin, add 1 teaspoon of unscented household liquid bleach for each gallon of warm water.
      • Soak the rinsed dishes in the water for at least one minute.
      • Let the dishes air dry completely before using again.

Laundry

  • It is safe to wash clothes as usual.

Cleaning

Caring for pets

  • Pets can get sick by some of the same germs as people or spread germs to people. Provide bottled orboiled waterafter it has been cooled for pets to use.
  • If bottled water is not available, bringwater to a full rolling boil for 1 minute(at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for 3 minutes), then allow it to cool before use.
  • Boil tap water even if it is filtered.
  • Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator.

Caring for your garden and houseplants

  • You can use tap water for household plants and gardens.

Communications

  • Our website at cosatx.us: When something like a boil water notice happens, we will have an emergency banner at the top of the desktop webpage that gives all of the information about what is going on. The bottom corner of our homepage has a news section, the notice will be at the top of that list.Cosatx.us/Newsis always a good page to check for the most up-to-date information from the City. eNotifications will be sent to users who have subscribed to our website. To sign up for eNotifications, please fill out the form on the bottom of this page or the bottom of any news story on our site.
  • SATV Optimum Channel 17:This channel will have an informational scroll on it telling people that there is a boil water notice and to visit our website for more information.
  • Social media: We will share the information to our social media pages on both Facebook and Twitter. Please make sure you are following our Facebook page so that you will receive posts in your news feed.
  • SAPD Nixle: The San Angelo Police Department Nixlepage is primarily used for traffic issues or police activity. However, when something like a boil water notice occurs,they will send out information.To sign up for Nixle alerts, visit this webpage.
  • Local media: All of our information and updates are sent to members of the local media simultaneously with posting to all our other platforms.
  • Water Department:
    • Contact our Water Distribution division about leaks or water pressure issues:325-657-4295

    What should homeowners do when the boil water notice is lifted?

    • Flush household pipes/faucets first: To flush your plumbing, run all your cold water faucets on full for at least 5 minutes each. If your service connection is long or complex (like in an apartment building) consider flushing for a longer period. Your building superintendent or landlord should be able to advise you on longer flushing times.
    • Automatic ice makers: Dump existing ice and flush the water feed lines by making and discarding three batches of ice cubes. Wipe down the ice bin with a disinfectant. If your water feed line to the machine is longer than 20 feet, increase to five batches.
    • Waterheaters, water coolers, in line filters, and other appliances with direct water connections or water tanks: Run enough water to completely replace at least one full volume of all lines and tanks. If your filters are near the end of their life, replace them.
    • Water softeners: Run through a regeneration cycle.
    • Reverse Osmosis (RO) units: Replace pre-filters, check owner's manual.
    • Replace other water filters, as they are disposable and may be contaminated. This applies especially to carbon filters and others that are near the end of their life.

    If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact our Water Utilities Department at325-657-4209, 301 W. Beauregard.

Water Main Break Forces Boil Water Notice in San Angelo (2024)
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