West Travis County Residents Issued Boil Water Notice After Valve Break

Boiling water is necessary after loss of air pressure that could have allowed bacteria or other microbes to form.

 by Tony Cantu, originally posted on December 5, 2016


WEST TRAVIS COUNTY, TX — West Travis County Public Utility Agency officials on Sunday issued a boil water notice for several communities to destroy bacteria that may have been formed when water pressure dropped after a valve break, according to a notice on the utility’s website.

The notice to Hays County residents was prompted after an air release valve broke on a 16-inch transmission line, requiring an emergency repair. Neighborhoods affected by the boil water notice include: Village of Bear Creek; Bear Creek Estate; Hills of Texas; Friendship Ranch; Fox Run; and Reunion Ranch.

As a result, water for drinking, cooking and making ice should first be boiled for two minutes before use to ensure the destruction of any harmful bacteria or microbes that may have been created when the water pressure dropped, officials said.

Water service was interrupted for several hours after the water main break, officials said. It was eventually restored by feeding water through another system, according to utility officials.

The ensuing boil water notice affects several hundred residents. The Village of Bear Creek alone has close to 400 residents.

“In lieu of boiling, you may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable public drinking water source,” utility officials wrote on their website. “As soon as the results from the collected samples are available, WTCPUA representatives will notify you that the water is safe for consumption.”

The air release valve is expected to be repaired on Monday, Nov. 5, officials said.

For a list of guidelines related to the boil water notice, click here.

In an effort to assist customers, utility officials compiled a list of frequently asked questions related to the boil water notice:

During a boil order, can I wash my hands using tap water?

It is recommended that you wash your hands using soap and either bottled water or boiled water. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer may also be used.
During a boil order, can my family take showers or baths using tap water?

The risk of bathing in tap water is uncertain and so should be avoided particularly by people with open wounds or who are immuno-compromised. For those people who choose to shower or bathe in the tap water, minimize the time
spent in the water and be sure to keep your eyes and mouth closed. Babies and young children should not bathe or shower in tap water because they often swallow some water accidentally.

During a boil order, can I wash dishes using tap water?

You may use a dishwasher if it has a sanitizing cycle. If it does not have a sanitizing cycle, or you are not sure if it does, you may hand wash dishes and utensils by following these steps: 1. Wash the dishes as you normally would. 2. As a final step, immerse the dishes for at least one minute in lukewarm water to which a teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water has been added. 3. Allow the dishes to completely air dry.

Can I use my coffee maker, ice machine, water or soda dispenser?

None of these devices should be used if they are directly connected to your water supply. Also, filters are unacceptable for removing bacteria. Once you have been notified that the boil order has been lifted, these devices should be cleaned and sanitized according to the operator’s manual for the device.
Can I give my pets tap water?
Although pets are not normally affected by the same diseases as humans, caution suggests giving pets boiled or bottled water.
How long will the boil order remain in effect?

Each boil order situation is different, making it impossible to predict how long the boil order will remain in effect. It will not be lifted until testing shows that the water meets public health standards. Boil water advisories or boil water orders are lifted by the WTCPUA when the water is considered safe and no longer poses a threat to public health.

What should I do when the boil water advisory or order has been lifted?

As a precaution consumers may wish to flush water pipes within the home by running faucets and spigots for several minutes. Some types of water treatment devices may need to be disinfected and flushed to remove any contaminated water before being used. Check with the manufacturer for details.

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