Late Tuesday, the city of Austin lifted the boil water notice that had been in place since Saturday night for its 1 million water utility customers.
Now that the tap water is deemed drinkable again, the city of Austin has provided some answers to some frequently asked questions:
What does lifting the boil water notice mean?
Now that Austin Water lifted the boil water notice, its customers no longer need to boil water used for drinking, cooking and making ice. Water quality testing submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has confirmed that tap water meets all regulatory standards and is safe for human consumption.
More: Austin Water waited 12 hours before issuing boil water notice. It's not clear why.
How do we know the water is safe?
Austin Water works closely with TCEQ and follows federal and state requirements for rescinding a boil water notice. Microbiological testing has been negative and water disinfection levels are within state-required standards. This also includes meeting adequate water pressure requirements in the distribution system.
I don't live in Austin but use Austin water, is it still safe?
The TCEQ has allowed the following Austin Water wholesale customers to lift their boil water notices:
• City of Rollingwood
• Mid-Tex Utility
• Northtown MUD
• North Austin MUD
• Travis County WCID #10
• Wells Branch MUD
More: 'Human error' eyed in Austin's third citywide boil water notice in four years
However, these Austin Water wholesale customers are awaiting test results and remain under a boil water notice:
• Rivercrest Water System
• Morningside Subdivision
• Nighthawk WSC
• Shady Hollow MUD
• City of Sunset Valley
• Creedmoor-Maha WSC
• Marsha WSC
• High Valley WSC
The city of Austin recommends that customers of the Austin Water wholesalers listed above should call their provider directly for the latest updates.
Do we need to flush the pipes at home?
Yes, but not all the pipes in your home. Water has continued to circulate in the distribution system during the boil water notice. Water used for laundry, showering, or boiling for consumption has created enough flushing effect for most homes. There should be no need to flush water from hot water heaters, irrigation systems, showers, clothes washing machines or outdoor faucets.
More: Austin lifts boil water notice; questions remain about what led to problems
What do Austin Water customers need to do now?
You can flush ice makers, water fountains and sink taps before using them for drinking or cooking. Flushing simply means letting the water run to ensure that fresh water is flowing through your pipes.
Follow these guidelines for flushing:
• Run all cold water faucets in your home for one minute.
•Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle.
• Automatic ice makers should be emptied of any ice created during the boil water order; allow the machine to make new ice and discard any ice produced during the next 24 hours.
• Draw and discarding at least one quart of water from your refrigerator water dispenser before drinking.
If you choose to flush water from your indoor taps, try to limit the amount of water you use.
What about restaurants?
Austin Public Health is requiring that all food enterprises flush all water lines, including lines directly connected to ice machines, coffee machines, and any other food preparation equipment. The city recommends that restaurants:
• Flush pipes throughout the facility by running each hot and cold water faucet for two minutes.
• Flush, clean, and sanitize appliances that use tap water (such as beverage dispensers, spray misters, coffee and tea urns, ice machines, glass washers, dishwashers) according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle.
• Run drinking fountains continuously for two minutes to flush the system.
• Take proper steps to flush ice machines by following the manufacturer’s instructions, including at a minimum:
• Throw out any ice remaining in all bins.
• Make one additional batch of ice in each machine and discard this batch of ice.
Will bills be prorated since we couldn’t use our water?
Throughout the boil water notice period, Austin Water has continued to provide water to its service area that has been safe to use for basic needs and for consumption after boiling. You should only be billed for the water you used, the city said.
Customers can visit www.austintexas.gov/page/boil-water-notice-and-faqs for more information and frequently asked questions.