NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – More than a dozen North Texas cities are still under boil water notices, driven in part by burst pipes flooding homes and businesses and putting immense strain on the water system.
“It’s just kind of turned into this rolling chaos, if you will,” said Melissa Rycroft Strickland, who lives in Southlake with her husband and three young kids. “Nobody should have to worry about water. That’s just something you should have.”
This week’s winter storms wreaked havoc on water systems across the state.
“The reality is our systems are built for heat,” said Toby Baker, executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). “They’re not necessarily built for extended cold weather.”
North Texas utility crews have been working around the clock to restore pressure and refill tanks depleted by burst pipes and high demand.
Friday, Feb. 19, Fort Worth lifted the boil notice for the north part of the city.
The City of Arlington expects to get results on its water samples Saturday morning, which could lead to cancellation of its current boil advisory.
“Once the notice is lifted, the water in the system is going to be clean,” Baker said.
After everything that’s happened this week, Strickland says it’s hard to imagine just returning to normal usage.
“Even once we get the okay, I think it’s going to take me a while to trust that water system and trust that it’s clean and safe for me and my kids and our animals,” she said.
The TCEQ says people should feel confident using their water after a boil notice is lifted. There’s no need to flush out pipes or take any additional steps.
Each water authority is required to thoroughly test water samples for bacteria before canceling the notice.
With hundreds of water systems across the state under boil water notices, the TCEQ has worked with the EPA to bring in three mobile laboratories to help with that testing.
Local governments like the City of Fort Worth are also stepping up to do additional sampling in their labs to help smaller communities.