Flint 2.0? Texas City Warns Residents Not to Drink or Use Tap Water

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A Texas city began warning residents on Thursday that their water supply is contaminated and that they should avoid using the tap water in any form, including boiling, until an investigation is completed.

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The city of Corpus Christi on Wednesday evening implemented a ban on drinking or using tap water, after a leak from a Valero facility in an industrial district released “three to 24 gallons” of an asphalt emulsifier called Indulin AA86, a petroleum-based chemical, into the water supply.

"At this time, we believe this is a localized backflow issue from third party operations in the area of Valero’s asphalt terminal. We do not believe this issue is being caused by Valero’s Corpus Christi refineries. While the City continues to investigate this issue, we do not believe the City’s water has been impacted," Valero spokeswoman Lillian Riojas said in a statement.

"We believe this issue is isolated to a lateral industrial line. Valero is offering its resources to assist the City in isolating the issue and to help confirm this has not impacted the City’s water supply."

While the corporation is denying that the water is contaminated, the city is saying otherwise.

A news release from city officials on Wednesday evening warned that residents should use bottled water, even for bathing and washing.

"Only bottled water should be used for all drinking, beverage and food preparation (including baby formula and juice), making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes or clothes, washing hands, and bathing until further notice," according to the release.

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It is also noted that boiling or filtering the water is not effective at eradicating the contamination.

"Boiling, freezing, filtering, adding chlorine or other disinfectants, or letting the water stand will not make the water safe," the release states.

No illnesses or injuries relating to tap water contamination have been reported. The city has consulted with CDC and determined that the chemical is not poisonous, and is not expected to be a health hazard, according to city spokeswoman Kim Womack. Still, city officials are cautious.

This is reportedly the fourth incident of water supply problems in Corpus Christi in the past 18 months.

“Residents who were already asleep awoke to the news Thursday that the city was in midst of its fourth notice within about a year and a half. Earlier water issues were related to concerns about bacteria. Those boil water notices provided residents a method for making their water safe,” the Corpus Christi Caller Times reported.

Residents hoping to get water found that many of the area stores had quickly sold out.

Area schools were closed on Thursday until further notice, due to the water emergency.

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