Residents of Texas Town Told Not to Drink Water After Three Reports of Contamination

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Many residents of Corpus Christi, Texas, have been told by city officials they will have to wait another 24 hours to see whether they can drinking the city water again.

Mayor Dan McQueen told reporters that 30 water samples have been sent to an Environmental Protection Agency laboratory for testing. The results should be known Sunday.

Water-use restrictions that were imposed Wednesday because of the possible water contamination are still in effect for two of three zones. In the zone where a possible contamination might have taken place, residents have been told not to drink or use water.

In a second zone in the city of 300,000 people, adult residents have been told they can safely bathe and wash clothes. But they should not drink the water or cook with it, the advisory from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said. The advisory was lifted in the third zone on Friday.

McQueen said the city three times in December received dirty water reports from a company that officials have not identified. The city investigated each time and determined the problem was not with the water from the city’s system.

Wednesday, the city told told the company to to shut off its water because of concern some water might have back-flowed into the city’s main.

“If you’re going to ask me were we breached or were we not breached, I don’t know,” McQueen said Saturday.

The company doesn’t have a device that would prevent the water from flowing back into their mains so there is a risk contaminated water made its way into the city’s pipes.

Officials said Thursday that the possible contamination could be from a chemical used in asphalt.

A news release from the city stated the chemical is Indulin AA-86, an asphalt emulsifier. Three to 24 gallons of the chemical possibly entered the city’s water after an incident in the Corpus Christi industrial district.

The city has flushed several water mains in the zone because of the risk.

Officials are looking into reports that there have been four people who may have become ill from prohibited water use. McQueen — who labeled the reports “rumors” — said water samples from those areas are also being studied.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.