Public schools in Houston didn't reopen following Thanksgiving break on Monday (November 28) due to a boil water notice placed on the city.
“Earlier today, the water pressure dropped below the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s required minimum of 20 PSI during a power outage at the East Water Purification Plant,” the city said in a news release Sunday.
According to the news release, water for drinking, cooking, washing hands and faces, and brushing teeth should be boiled for at least two minutes before use to kill potentially harmful bacteria or microbes.
The Houston Independent School District announced the closure of its schools on Twitter, noting that officials will continue to monitor the situation.
"Due to the Boil Water Notice issued by the City of Houston late this evening, all Houston ISD schools, offices, and facilities will be closed Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. #HISD will closely monitor the situation and provide additional updates regarding operations tomorrow," the district tweeted Sunday.
Water pressure has been restored at the plant but the boil water notice will likely remain in effect until at least Tuesday (November 28) morning. Water samples must first be approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The state can then green-light the city to lift the boil water advisory if no harmful bacteria or microbes are found, Houston Public Works and the office of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. The city cannot independently rescind the notice.
“We are working closely with the City of Houston and stand ready to review the city’s water sample results and offer any technical assistance that may be needed,” TCEQ said in a statement.
Houston’s drinking and wastewater utility serves about 2.2 million people per day, according to the utility’s website.