Corpus Christi Hopes New Disinfectant Will Eliminate Need to Boil Water

Plans shift in quest to lift boil water order

A South Texas city dealing with a boil water order for nearly a week plans to change the disinfectant in the system in hopes of soon lifting the advisory.

City Manager Ron Olson resigned Tuesday, saying he should be held accountable for the problems affecting supply to more than 300,000 people.

The city issued the boil water order Friday night after nitrogen-rich runoff from rain flowed into the water system, resulting in low chlorine disinfectant levels in the water supply.

Samples tested by the city are adequate to lift the boil advisory, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported. But supplemental samples taken by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from locations that weren't previously tested "caused (the state) to question the stability of the water system," according to a news release.

Corpus Christi officials on Wednesday planned to ask the commission to allow switching to a more aggressive type of disinfectant. City spokeswoman Kim Womack said that process could take up to 10 days.

"We realize this is a hardship on many people and businesses, and because the system is not stabilizing we want to switch disinfectants so we know we have an absolute end to the boil water advisory," Womack said. "We're working on long-term solutions, but this would be one more layer of safety as we work to improve the system."

If the treatment plan is approved, it would produce strong chlorine odors in the water. The city used the same approach in September to end a boil water advisory.

The order requires water for drinking, cooking and making ice to be boiled.

Heavy rain and street flooding this week in Corpus Christi added to the problems by complicating the water sampling process.

Officials say no E.coli has been detected.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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