Houston residents question the timing of the boil order almost 6 hours after system failure

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Timing of boil order notice under fire by Houston residents
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Still, under the boil order, residents are verbalizing their dissatisfaction with the city and the timing of the notification, which was given almost six hours after.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As Houston continues to operate under a boil water notice, city officials are facing criticism from residents on why it took so long for the information to be issued in the first place.

Other Houstonians are also angry about the city's notification system.

"Now do you want to give a boil water notice to a city of 2 million-plus people? No," Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a press conference. "Certainly apologize for the disruptions, kids having to miss school, businesses closed, even some elective surgeries having to be postponed."

RELATED: Multiple Houston area schools to remain closed for second day as city is under boil notice

The mayor said city officials had no choice but to issue a boil water notice after two transformers failed, causing three water purification plants to lose power and water pressure to drop below the recommended amount.

The failure happened at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, and the boil water notice was issued hours later at 6:30 p.m.

Some residents found out well after that time.

RELATED: Houston boil water order resulted from ground trips at power plants

"We didn't know the notice was up, so we used the water, so that was bad," Tomomi Ozawa said, who spent much of her day with her children, going to different grocery stores to purchase water.

"How long are the kids going to be out of school? Parents have to go to work. We've just had a long holiday break, the kids have been out so many days, and how long is it going to extend?" asked another parent.

City officials legally have 24 hours to issue boil water notifications after water pressure drops, but many wonder why Houstonians weren't given any information earlier.

"The PSIs didn't just drop automatically when the power was disrupted. It was during the course of the day," the mayor explained, when Eyewitness News asked about it.

"You have 24 hours. So, I can understand people being angry, but what I can say to people is that this was a situation that was not being overlooked, or ignored. Teams were in and our electrician was in."

City officials relied on social media to notify residents, and the mayor said he also instructed officials to send out emergency text alerts, but those never came.

"It didn't trigger over to that this time," Carol Haddock, the director of Public Works, said. "And I will ask for us to review as part of what the mayor has asked us to review those processes to see if that should have."

SEE ALSO: Does my area fall under Houston's boil water notice? What we know

"We use this emergency alert system all the time, right? We get all these unnecessary messages all the time," Krishna Chirumamilla said. "For once, it would have been nice."

"I saw it on Instagram, but I had already drank water that I had purified, so I'm like, 'OK, I'm probably already poisoned anyway," Houstonian Nick Montebello said.

Mayor Turner has ordered a review of the city's water system and its notification process.

"We are the fourth-largest city in the country, and we can't even manage our water system," Montebello added. "C'mon Houston, do better."

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