Reports of foul-smelling water persist among Austin residents

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In response to reports of foul-smelling water across the city of Austin, Austin Water crews have flushed water at more than 600 locations and continue to perform targeted flushing in affected areas.

The city’s water supply continues to meet “all regulatory standards and is safe to drink,” according to a Feb. 7 statement issued by Austin Water.

The odor and taste issues are the result of dead zebra mussels in a raw water pipe at the Ulrich Water Treatment Plant in Southwest Austin; Austin Water had put the pipe back into service Feb. 6 after finishing repairs over the two weeks prior, according to the department.

The issue originated Thursday, Feb. 7. Although Austin Water suggested the issue would be resolved in 24 hours with the addition of powdered activated carbon to the water supply and flushing efforts, it has continued for nearly a week.

Between 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10, when the city’s 3-1-1 department began tracking complaints, and 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11, more than 1,987 residents have called with complaints about the odor and taste of their water supply.

The most complaints originated in Southwest Austin neighborhoods.

According to a Feb. 13 statement, Austin Water’s Customer Response Team has called over 1,700 customers and will continue reaching out to more this week. It directed those experiencing issues to contact 3-1-1.

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Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her reporting focuses include employment and economic development. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.
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