HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner provided a timeline of events during a news conference Monday in which he explained what he said led to the city issuing a boil water notice on Sunday evening.
Turner said testing is underway, and is optimistic that results will come back clean.
“I’m not the technical person. I can’t tell you why both (transformers) failed,” he said. “But, you know, stuff, I will say stuff does happen. It’s unfortunate, a lot of people were impacted, and are impacted. Certainly apologize for that. But we’ll do a diagnostic review and work with our partners to assess the situation and mitigate a future occurrence of this kind.”
Watch Mayor Turner’s news conference from Monday night below:
TIMELINE -- Here’s what Turner said during the news conference on Monday led to the boil water notice:
10:30 a.m. Sunday
Plants 1 and 2 at the East Water Purification Plant lost power.
10:50 a.m. Sunday
Plant 3 at the East Water Purification Plant lost power.
11 a.m. Sunday
Electrician arrives at the East Water Purification Plant to troubleshoot the outage.
Water pressure dipped below 35 PSI at 21 water monitoring sites.
Pressure at 16 of the 21 sites dropped below 20 PSI, which is the regulated emergency level.
Pressure at 14 of the 16 sites that previously reported low water pressure rebounded above 20 PSI “in less than two minutes.”
11:30 am. Sunday
Two of the remaining 16 sites that previously reported low water presser rebounded above 20 PSI.
Five remaining water monitoring sites did not fall below 20 PSI.
Electrician finds that two transformers from Plant 1 went offline due to a ground trip and current overload. The electrical feeder from Plant 3 also experienced a ground trip and current overload.
SABER contractors and Centerpoint Energy arrived on-site to investigate.
12:15 p.m. Sunday
Power was restored to Plants 1 and 2.
12:30 p.m. Sunday
Power was restored to Plant 3.
2:43 p.m. Sunday
Conversations begin with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
3:30 p.m. Sunday
Full water pressure was restored at all locations.
Further investigation and testing on the breakers found a “bad cell” in a Plant 1 transformer. Mayor asks for a complete diagnostic of the system.
Houston Water Field Staff verified all water pressures across the system.
Conversations continue with TCEQ.
6:40 p.m. Sunday
Conversations with TCEQ conclude. BOIL WATER NOTICE ISSUED. Mayor said the boil water notice was issued because of the time it took for the pressure to rebound at several water monitoring sites.
10:41 p.m. Sunday
TCEQ approves City of Houston’s water sampling plan.
6 a.m. Monday
Water samples were pulled from 29 locations for testing.
9:45 a.m. Monday
Samples arrived at Houston water labs, where the mayor says they will sit and incubate for at least 18 hours, per state regulations.
Looking ahead --
3:30 p.m. Monday
The first sample readings will be taken around this time.
3 a.m. Tuesday
First OFFICIAL water sample readings -- this will determine if the water is free from contamination.
The results will be sent to TCEQ for verification and to determine if the city can rescind the notice.