Austin officials said conditions had improved Friday at the city’s water treatment plant facilities and that drinking water quality was “very good” but maintained the boil water notice would likely remain until Sunday “afternoon or early evening.”
The city has been under an unprecedented citywide water boil notice since Oct. 22, triggered by weeks of heavy rainfall in the region that sent sediment-heavy floodwaters into Austin’s water source, effectively strangling the water treatment process. During that time the community has also been under emergency water consumption restrictions.
Earlier this week city officials estimated the water boil notice would remain until the weekend, and on Friday, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros, standing under the first clear sky the city has seen all week, reconfirmed that timeline but emphasized nothing is certain.
“I don’t want to announce victory before we can,” Adler said. “We are still under a boil water notice.”
Meszaros said the drinking water quality was “very good,” and the water coming into water treatment plants has substantially cleared up. Earlier this week, sediment levels in the water entering the plants were 8,000 percent of what is typical. Since the contamination levels in the drinking water had exceeded state standards on Wednesday, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will need to clear the boil water notice following several tests.
Although the city has targeted Sunday mid-day to lift the boil water notice, Meszaros said the water consumption restrictions would remain in place until “later next week.”
City Manager Spencer Cronk commended the city for coming together in a time of emergency. Cronk, who took over the city manager post in February, said he has had to use the term “unprecedented” more times than he would have preferred in his first year, but said the community’s response during emergency situation continues to impress him.