After the city’s fourth water problem of 2016 in December, the thought of having a plan in case it happens again was on many residents’ minds. It appeared we were having yet another water advisory on Jan. 19 when another chemical managed to get into the system. However, it did not get into the city’s system; it was only found in the Flint Hills water system, which is separate from the city’s supply. The brief misunderstanding sent people scrambling to H-E-B and Wal-Mart to buy bottled water before it sold out.
The December advisory, which prohibited any use of tap water, caused schools and business to close, bringing some of them to file lawsuits. Since CCISD had to cancel class they now have to make it up by adding extra time and days to meet the states requirements on how long students should be in school. Tuloso-Midway School District did not cancel classes. The district has created a plan in case this happens again that includes purchasing water for kitchen use and also for the students, purchasing hand sanitizer and asking that parents send their kids to school with a water bottle.
The city’s pipe system for our water is old, which caused the first three water boils. The fourth advisory is suspected to have been caused by not having a backflow preventer in place at Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions Inc. The first sign of a problem was on Dec. 7 with a funny odor, then a few days later there was a discoloration. Late at night on Dec. 14 was the announcement on not to use the water. The city should have checked that all the refineries in the area are following the codes to prevent something like this from happening. Furthermore it should have taken action sooner and not prolonged the issue almost seven days.
So what should residents do in case this happens again? The first thing is not to panic and not cause a seen like at Sam’s Club, where a few people were involved in fights for water. The best advice is to store a few cases of water in a dark, cool place so the plastic does not emit odors when it comes to use. Another tip is to plan a meal sheet for your family with food that could be cooked during a water problem.
It’s sad that Corpus Christi residents have to prepare in case another water boil happens. Unless the pipes are replaced with something new, another water boil may happen and residents/schools should be prepared for it.