Houston's Boil Water Advisory Has Been Lifted, But Things Aren't Back to Normal Yet

The City of Houston announced the boil water notice has ended Tuesday morning.

By Shelby Stewart

Update, November 29, 2022:

Houston Public Works shared on Twitter Tuesday morning that the boil water notice for the City of Houston has been lifted. Residents are no longer required to boil water used for drinking, cooking, and making ice. 

Despite the notice being lifted, Houston Independent School District announced Monday evening that its campuses would remain closed Tuesday due to the "logistical challenges" brought on by the boil water advisory.

Restaurants are going back to regular hours of operation in light of the advisory being lifted. 

The City of Houston currently advises residents to 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.

Read our original article, published on November 28, 2022:

On Sunday evening, the City of Houston issued a boil water notice following a power outage at a water treatment plant. The disruption occurred at the East Water Purification Plant, and according to the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, the city's water pressure dropped below the required minimum of 20 PSI. 

Official counts have shown that 2.3 million people were affected by the outage on Sunday morning. The boil water advisory notice wasn't shared until 6 hours after the outage, around 8 p.m. If you're unfamiliar with a boil water advisory or need more insight on what to do, we've got the answers to your questions. 

Why was a boil water advisory issued?

Sunday's outage at the water treatment plant decreased the city's water pressure below the standard limit. When the water pressure falls below the limit, bacteria and toxins can infiltrate the system. 

What areas have been affected? 

All of Harris County falls under the boil water advisory. Out of an abundance of caution, the City of Bellaire also issued an advisory. Check the outage map to see if you're in a location that has been affected. 

What businesses have been affected?

Houston Independent School District closed, and multiple Houston Community College campuses closed for the day amid the boil water advisory. Several restaurants including and coffee shops remain open, however, cocktails and cold drinks are not available. 

What should be expected in a boil water advisory?

Residents who get water from the City of Houston are urged to boil it for at least two minutes before use. This includes bathing and consumption (yes, for coffee too).

Can we shower or shave?

It is recommended that water be boiled before bathing; however, healthy, non-immunocompromised residents can take precautions not to swallow water and avoid shaving nicks. 

Is it safe to wash dishes and laundry? 

According to the TDEQ, you should use boiled water for hand-washing dishes, and water should be diluted with a tablespoon of bleach. Dishes should be air-dried before use. The water is safe for laundry if clothes are completely dried before being worn. 

What if we can't boil water?

If residents don't have access to a stove to boil water, bottled water is the secondary recommendation for consumption. 

Can refrigerated water and ice be used?

Residents shouldn't use chilled water lines from refrigerators or ice from ice machines. 

How long will the boil water advisory last?

Houston's Water Director, Yvonne Williams Forrest, believes the advisory should be lifted around Tuesday morning. Currently, city officials are testing the water across the city, and the samples will be sent to the state.

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