Last evening, the city received its next set of testing results (sampled on Thursday, February 11) of samples from random locations throughout the previous green and white areas, the PaulAnn area and the separate northern industrial area. On Monday, February 8, the northern industrial area was physically separated through valves from the majority of the PaulAnn area and has remained isolated since.

The city received testing results for the city’s third and fourth round of testing (including the PaulAnn area) and immediately began data review coordination with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The third and fourth round of testing results consisted of twenty-six samples. Between the city’s second, third, and fourth testing results, the city and TCEQ have determined that all samples tested within the PaulAnn area over the last four days have all tested below the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for benzene, which means the samples within the PaulAnn area have been compliant since Thursday, February 11. The last result above the MCL for contaminants in that area was from results received on Tuesday, February 9.

Given the fact that in the last four days all sample sets from the PaulAnn residential area have identified no benzene or other contaminants above the MCL, the city proposed to the TCEQ to downgrade the residential portion of the red isolation zone from a ‘do-not-use’ order to a ‘do-not-drink’ advisory. This would allow for the residents in that area to flush their systems and also be able to bathe, do laundry and wash dishes.

Late last night, the TCEQ approved this request. The city and TCEQ agreed to maintain the requested do-not-drink advisory for this area until the area flushing of the lines was completed and a final set of tests were taken and found to have no contaminants over the MCL.

Flushing is anticipated to be completed by mid-day Saturday, Feb. 13.

View map for February 13, 2021

Because there were still positive benzene results above the MCL in the northern industrial area — which is still completely isolated through valving from the remainder of the city — the city and TCEQ agreed it was necessary to maintain the northern industrial isolation area as a red zone falling under the do-not-use order until the flushing of these areas have been completed and post-flushing test results have been approved by the city and TCEQ.

“This will be the last update until after the winter storm. The PaulAnn area will not be released from the do-not-drink advisory until sometime next week if contaminant levels remain below the MCL,” said the note from the city’s public information office.

Please see the attached map here to see the boundaries for the white do-not-drink area.

Recommended “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for the “do-not-drink” advisory area (this is only applicable to the white “do-not-drink” area in the attached map):

  • DO
    • Take showers
    • Wash dishes
    • Wash Laundry
    • Wash your hands
  • DON’T
    • Drink water from the faucet (continue to use bottled water)
    • Cook with water from the faucet (if you cook, use bottled water)
    • Brush your teeth with water from the faucet (when you brush, use bottled water)
    • Use ice from an automatic dispenser (purchase from a commercial facility within the current green area of the attached map)
    • Prepare coffee with water from the faucet (continue to use using bottled water)
    • Fill pet water bowls from the faucet (continue to use bottled water)

In addition to “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for the do-not-drink advisory for the PaulAnn area, the city recommends initiating flushing at each residence and business. While the city has been flushing the major distribution pipes throughout the PaulAnn area since midnight on Wednesday, February 10th, the flushing of the distribution pipes will not necessarily flush water within internal water piping within your residence or business. Refer below to recommended steps to begin flushing anticipated areas of stored water within your residence or business.

These steps are recommended for the PaulAnn area as contaminants were originally found in this area (whereas contaminants were not found in the areas currently shown in green in the attached map).

  • If you have not flushed one or more of your toilets over the past several days, flush at least 2-3 times to completely flush water through your toilet, tank, and piping
  • Turn on all of your faucets and showers (at the same time) with both cold and hot, and let the faucets and showers run for approximately 30 minutes, or until the water turns cold (in order to flush your hot water heater)
  • If you have a washing machine, run at least one cycle using “warm” water with detergent (to flush both hot and cold water lines) without putting any clothes in the washing machine
  • If you have a dishwasher, run at least one cycle using warm water with detergent without putting any dishes in the dishwasher
  • Open the faucets on outdoor hose bib connections for 2-3 minutes to flush exterior piping (outdoor hose bib flushing can also wait until the weather warms back up)

The city is continuing flushing efforts through this area and anticipate completion of flushing early morning Saturday, February 13. The city and TCEQ staff are coordinating a post-flushing sampling event Saturday morning once flushing has been completed, and samples will be sent to the LCRA lab in Austin as soon as possible (pending impacts to travel due to the bad weather coming in). As soon as the PaulAnn area and the northern industrial area can be released to normal water use (pending test results after completing flushing), that information will be released to the city.

Source: City of San Angelo Public Information Office