Boil water notice lifted Sunday

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Psychology freshman Samantha Mathis, second from left, was one of hundreds of students living in campus dormitories without potable water during the city’s boil water notice. The notice, which lasted six days, forced the university to set up free water stations around the UT campus.

Photo Credit: Pedro Luna | Daily Texan Staff

Austin Water lifted the city’s boil water notice Sunday afternoon after one week.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality tested the water and confirmed it was safe for Austin residents to use for drinking, cooking and making ice.

“We are fully confident that the tap water is safe to drink,” Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk said Sunday at a press conference.

The notice was originally issued Oct. 22, after unprecedented flooding caused high levels of silt to flow into the lakes, leaving Austin water plants unable to treat the water. It was the first time a citywide boil water notice had been issued in the history of the city’s water utility.

Officials were then required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to make the boil water notice mandatory on Wednesday when a water sample from one of Austin Water’s treatment facilities fell short of state standards.

“We had no positive tests for bacteria that would be harmful to any people,” Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros said at the press conference. “The next steps are going to be figuring out what was the cause of this and how we can get better at emergency response and communication.”

Jimmy Johnson, assistant vice president for campus safety, said in an email to the UT community that campus water fountains will be considered safe to use after the trash bags have been removed, and stand-alone ice machines will have signs posted when they are safe to use.

“Throughout this weekend, the University took precautionary measures and conducted water testing at several main campus locations in anticipation of the boil water advisory being lifted,” Johnson said in an email. “The university has developed a coordinated plan to quickly and systematically enable the consumption of water on campus.”

While residents are not required to flush their pipes, there are still water restrictions in place. Austin Water is asking residents to limit water use and refrain from using water for outdoor irrigation and vehicle or surface washing. At 10 a.m. on Monday, the restrictions on irrigation and washing vehicles will be lifted.

Austin Water also recommends removing at least one quart of water from your refrigerator water dispenser before consumption and emptying any ice created during the notice.

Waterway bans for Lake Austin and Lake Travis still remain in effect and will be reevaluated Monday.