UPDATE: Boil advisory tests city of Austin’s bottled water supply

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Update 2:30 p.m.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has turned off its water fountains, and some concessions are only serving prepackaged food and beverages while the boil advisory is still in effect, according to the airport’s Twitter account.

Update 2:20 p.m.

Local health care network Seton—under which Travis County sites Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, Seton Medical Center Austin, Dell Children’s Medical Center, Seton Shoal Creek, Seton Northwest, Seton Southwest and Seton Administrative Offices operate—said in an statement Monday afternoon that its care continues with minimal disruption despite the boil water notice.

Thousands of gallons of bottled water have been distributed across its patient care site for consumption and will continue to be distributed as needed. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is being used for hand hygiene. Bottled or boiled water is being used in cafeterias.

The sterilization process is being monitored according to strict guidelines based on industry standards, per the statement, and elective surgeries continue on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of physicians.

In addition to Austin Pets Alive, the Austin Humane Society also issued an urgent call for water bottle donations on Monday.

According to an Austin Humane Society press release, the nonprofit will need at least 50 gallons of water each day to keep all of the animals in its care hydrated and healthy.

Original post 

Following the city of Austin’s announcement early Monday morning of a boil water advisory, local residents, businesses and nonprofits are struggling to access clean water.

The advisory is a result of historic flooding last week, which overwhelmed Austin Water’s filtering system.

While safe for showers, laundry and other household uses, any water for consumption should be boiled for three minutes before being used.

Many H-E-B stores have been emptied of their bottled water supplies following the advisory announcement.

“Once we were notified of the boil notice, we began sending additional trailers full of water and will continue to as needed,” a company spokesperson said via email.

The San Antonio Water System also announced Monday morning that it had dispatched a 5,000-gallon water tanker to Austin to help residents deal with the advisory.

Austin ISD and Austin Community College District campuses remain open but are taking precautions to ensure student safety.

At AISD, drinking fountains are being covered or closed, cafeteria managers are following boiling instructions and menus have been adjusted to provide fruit and vegetable alternatives to the salad bar, which will not be open today.

Due to the advisory, some local businesses have temporarily closed, including South Austin’s Bouldin Creek Cafe, both locations of Magnolia Cafe, and Jack Allen’s Kitchen in North Austin, citing a lack of clean water for cooking and serving.

Austin Pets Alive posted an “urgent” request for bottled water on its Facebook page Monday morning.

“We are asking for your support today by bringing any bottled water (or water from outside Austin city limits) to the shelter. We’re hearing reports that H-E-Bs have already started seeing a serious depletion in their stocks of bottled water. We have placed an order for bottled water from Amazon, but the reality is that it likely won’t be enough to meet our needs and it won’t be delivered immediately,” the nonprofit wrote. 

The city of Austin’s website is down following the announcement. A spokesperson said updates can be found on the city’s Twitter account in the meantime.

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Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her beat includes the Travis County Commissioners Court and local business news. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.
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