Updated Boil Water Notice and Tips

A boil water notice has been issued for the City of Houston’s Main Water System (TX1010013). The water pressure dropped below the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s required minimum of 20 PSI during the arctic winter weather event starting on February 16, 2021 at Noon.
Do not drink the water without boiling it first. Bring all water to a boil for at least two minutes. Let it cool before using. Individuals without power to boil water are advised to use bottled water for consumption. 
Houston Public Works has received reports of low water pressure and we ask the community to conserve water in the area. 
Customers should turn off their main water connection following a freeze, burst water pipe or a water leak. If you’re unable to turn off your water connection, please call 311 (713.837.0311) and Houston Water will walk you through steps you can take to turn off the water connection. 
DETAILS ABOUT RESTORATION ESTIMATES: The City expects pressures to improve over the day today and to have stabilized pressures back into the operational range before the end of the day on Thursday, February 18.
If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact 311 or email waterquality@houstontx.gov.
For a link to a Google Map of the impacted area: http://bit.ly/boilwaternotice2021
TCEQ requires this mandatory notification and the information below.
Due to reduced distribution system pressure, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has required the Houston Main Water System (TX1010013) to notify all customers to boil their water prior to consumption (e.g., washing hands/face, brushing teeth, drinking, etc.). Children, seniors, and persons with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria, and all customers should follow these directions).
To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.
In lieu of boiling, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source for drinking water or human consumption purposes.
When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the public water system officials will notify customers that the water is safe for drinking water or human consumption purposes.
Once the boil water notice is no longer in effect, the public water system will issue a notice to customers that rescinds the boil water notice in a manner similar to this notice.
Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.
Please see updated information below regarding the City’s water system and tips. Please report any water or wastewater issues to 3-1-1. 
Houston’s water & wastewater systems are operating at emergency pressure levels and experiencing system-wide low water pressure. If you have water, please use it only for health & safety reasons. 
If there is no water, this could indicate that the home’s private water line is frozen. After temperatures are above freezing, the best way to thaw frozen water pipes is to: 
  • Open cabinet doors to circulate warm air 
  • Use hair dryers, heat lamps or portable space heaters 
  • DO NOT USE open flames or propane torches (fire hazard)  
Please do NOT drip faucets, this will cause lower water pressure to our City. Houston’s water system is different than other systems in that we don’t use water towers to provide pressure to the system. We use ground storage tanks & pumps. Some of this equipment has been damaged due to the severe weather. 
Homeowners may choose to turn off their main water connections following a freeze, burst water pipe or a water leak. 
Slab foundations have two valves, one located at the house. This can be found along an exterior wall or in your garage. The other valve can be found at the water meter by the street. 
Older pier & beam foundations shutoff valves are in the ground water meter box. 
You may need an adjustable wrench or pliers to assist in turning off the valves. Homes will have either a gate or ball valve:  
  • Ball valve turn lever 90 degrees (lever is perpendicular to the pipes when valve is closed. It will be parallel when valve is open) 
  • Gate valve (common in older homes): gently turn round handle clockwise (right) until it is completely closed. (you will turn handle counterclockwise to turn water back on) 
Please do NOT shut off water yourself. Please call 311 (713.837.0311) to have Houston Water walk you through steps you can take to turn off the water at your house.  
Roadways, especially bridges & overpasses remain hazardous. Please do not travel unless it is an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra blanket, flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case you become stranded. 
To prevent water leaks due to frozen water pipes: 
Before Freezing Weather 
  • Wrap exposed pipes located outside or in unheated areas of the home 
  • Remove garden hoses connected to outside faucets 
  • Turn off sprinkler systems 
In Freezing Weather 
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks next to outside walls 
  • Do NOT drip faucets, this lowers the water pressure in Houston’s water system 
  • In unheated garages, shut off water to washing machines 
  • Protect pipes that have frozen in the past 
Not Going to Be Home? 
  • Drain outside water faucets or leave home heating system on low 
Please turn off sprinkler systems before cold weather to prevent potential broken pipes and slick local streets. 
Landlords must maintain rental properties to the standards set by the Houston Housing Code of Ordinances (Sec. 10-363). Heating equipment must maintain a minimum inside temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (measured three feet above the floor) when it is 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside. To report suspected violations, call 311. 
To report water leaks, trees down, lights flashing or other concerns, please call 311, 713.837.0311. 
Together we will!
Edward Pollard