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Public Safety

Houston Maritime Museum
Harris County
Houston Mayor's Office
News Release
Friday, January 05, 2018

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner today held a news conference regarding the chlorine disinfectant levels in the city's drinking water system.

Turner started the conference by stressing that the city's drinking water was safe.

“The water is safe, it was safe through the floods, and it will continue to be safe,” Turner said. Listen (11:36)

He then announced that, according to tests by the city's public works department, chlorine disinfectant levels were below the state standard at approximately 7 percent of the city's roughly 450 testing sites. State standards require that chlorine levels be at 95 percent or higher or requirements. However, water was still meeting standards for bacteria levels.

“The tests show no problems with the bacterial level in the water, so I wanted to underscore that,” Turner said. “But when chlorine disinfectant levels are too low in more than 5 percent of the testing sites, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality standards require us to notify the public.”

Turner said there was “no need for alarm” and no need to take steps such as boiling water.

He then gave details regarding test results for October, November and December, and that the city is investigating the cause of the lower levels.

Turner noted that standing water can lead to lower chlorine levels, and that the city could have increase levels of standing water due to homes with water turned off due to flooding, and water valves shut off in the area of State Highway 290. The test sites with low chlorine levels were concentrated in the northwest quadrant of town, Turner said.

Turner went on to state that the city is monitoring chlorine levels, and conducting maintenance at water treatment plants, as well as utilizing a private consulting firm to make improvements.

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