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Water Line Rupture Causes Bacteria Scare in Texas


The water quality in the town of San Angelo, Texas, was compromised last month when an abrupt water main break on the south side of town caused one of the tanks in the public water system to completely drain. The scale of the water line rupture allowed the water pressure within the system to drop below 20 PSI, forcing officials to reroute the water and pave the way for bacteria to filter into the water.

The leak caused by the water main break was patched within a few days of the rupture occurring, and water was shot off to the affected area before that. However, building back the water pressure to safe levels could not happen quickly, and the entire town of San Angelo was issued a boil water notice for several days.

A Breeding Ground for Bacteria

Lance Overstreet, Assistant Director of Water Utilities in San Angelo, explained how a single break affects an entire population. “The reason that it is effecting the whole city is because right now we are utilizing the high plane to feed water into the low plane to maintain pressures,” stated Overstreet, “and then having to switch the system back over into the evenings with low water usage to fill those tanks back up.”

Overstreet continued, “If somebody has a little stock tank or they have a tank somewhere in their home, and they don’t have a backflow preventer–when our pressure drops down to a certain level, that can actually come back into our system and introduce bacteria and things like that that have not been treated.”

During the boil water notice the Water Utilities Department recommended that water used for any purpose be boiled or treated. “We also recommend to, if it’s going to be something that your washing your face, putting by your mouth, putting by your eyes are areas that can be entrances to the body that also to should be boiled or bottled water,” Overstreet said.

Schools Hit Hard by Lack of Water

The boil water notice was lifted after two days as the water pressure returned to normal. However, school officials of the San Angelo Independent School District struggled to provide 14,500 students spread across 24 campuses with clean drinking water following the announcement of the boil water notice.

According to Derrick Jackson, Director of Communications for San Angelo ISD, students were alerted to bring two bottles of water to school if possible. Administrators of the ISD scrambled to order enough bottled water for each of their school campuses during the boil water notice. Water quality crises like these don’t just jeopardize your health through the water quality — they also lead to incredible amounts of plastic waste as consumers turn to bottled water.

Prepare for the Next Water Line Break

Water line breaks are becoming increasingly common as climate change creates more extreme weather events and the water infrastructure around America continues to age and degrade. Protect your family from threats like bacterial contamination by installing a comprehensive drinking water filter in your home. Our affordable Drinking Water Purification System reduces the level of bacteria, viruses, cysts, and chlorine in your drinking water at rates exceeding 99%.

Ensure your kids are safe at school as well. Get them in the habit of bringing a reusable bottle to school every day and fill it with crisp, safe filtered water from your tap before they get on the bus every morning.

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