Mayor Turner reveals results of drinking water system tests after Harvey

HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner started a news conference on Friday to address the safety of the city’s drinking water by saying that the water is safe.

“It was safe through the flood and it will continue to be safe,” Turner said.

Public Works and Engineering Department officials said that during the testing of hundreds of Houston water facilities, chlorine disinfectant levels were below state standards at about 7 percent of sites. The standard disinfectant level should be at 95 or higher, but 7 percent of facilities fell below that standard.

VIDEO: Mayor Turner reveals results of drinking water system tests after Harvey

Turner said no bacteria was found in the water that was tested, but when the chlorine disinfectant levels are too low at 5 percent or more of test sites, the city is required to notify the public. He said a written notice would be sent as well. 

“There is no need for alarm. There is no need to believe that your drinking water is unsafe. There is no reason to boil water before you drink it,” Turner said.

Water samples that were taken from 422 locations in October had satisfactory levels of chlorine disinfectant at 95 percent. At 34 sites, the disinfectant level fell below standards at 93 percent. In November, disinfect levels at 58 locations were at 89 percent, and in December, 30 locations were at 93.3 percent.

Reading a statement from the state commission, Turner said, “The bacteria samples taken in October, November and December were incompliant and met drinking water standards.” 

The city is investigating why the chlorine levels decreased at the test sites.