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Austin Issues Boil Water Notice During Winter Storm

Water that is meant for drinking, cooking, and making drinks must be boiled

A pot of boiling water
Austin residents and businesses will have to boil their water for now
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

The city of Austin issued a notice on Wednesday, February 17 advising residents and businesses to boil tap water due to a power outage at the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant. This is on top of everything that has happened this week: consistent below-freezing temperatures, icy roads, prolonged power outages, and lack of water due to water pipe breaks and leaks.

Water must be heated up to a rolling boil for two minutes and then cooled, according to the guidance. This applies for water intended for drinking, cooking, making beverages, washing produce and dishes, creating ice, washing hands, brushing teeth, and for providing to pets.

This boil water notice is also tricky for the numerous households and businesses that are without power and no access to gas stoves, no water, or both at this point. Bottled water is also recommended, which is, again difficult, when roads are still icy and many grocery stores and markets are sold out or remain closed.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said that the plant got its power back, as reported by KXAN, but is not sure about when the boil water notice will be lifted.

The boil water notice had initially been issued for specific regions in the Southwest Austin and Lost Creek region at around 11 a.m. yesterday. Eight hours later, it expanded to cover the entire city.

When it is safe to drink and use tap water again, the city will issue another announcement.

This isn’t the first time Austin had a boil water situation. The city’s drinking water was contaminated in October 2018 as a result of flooding, which lasted for five days.