Tyler Water Utilities rescinds boil water notice

Less than 24 hours after it was issued, the City of Tyler lifted its boil water notice on Saturday. Samples returned were found to have no traces of e. coli.
Published: Sep. 9, 2023 at 10:42 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The city announced the boil water notice had been rescinded on Saturday at 11 a.m.

All Tyler Water Utilities customers were asked to boil their water on Friday after e. coli was found while testing a water sample. The city said they expected new test results around 11 a.m. on Saturday, and upon receiving the results, the boil order was lifted.

In a release, the city announced the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality had approved test results indicating the water no longer requires boiling prior to use. There are several steps customers are recommended to take, including flushing faucets for about 15 minutes, throwing out ice from the refrigerator and changing filter cartridges.

The boil notice was rescinded on Saturday.
The boil notice was rescinded on Saturday.(KLTV)

The boil water notice was announced Friday afternoon after the city reported e. coli was found during routine testing from a water sample at a single site in central Tyler.

City of Tyler Public Information Officer LouAnn Campbell said the first sample of water that tested positive for e. coli was discovered on Thursday, and by TCEQ requirements, the next step was to complete more sampling. Campbell said the city tests water from different parts of the city daily, and this is the first boil notice they’ve had to issue in two years. Running tests on the water samples also requires time, and when the second positive result was received on Friday, a boil notice was issued.

Campbell said re-tests are important to confirm results and avoid unnecessary scares. The source of the contamination may also have come from outside the water system.

LouAnn Campbell discusses lifting a boil notice after e. coli was detected in the Tyler Water Utilities system then successfully cleared on Saturday.

“The e. coli was probably cross-contaminated into the sample,” Campbell said, explaining that this type of bacteria can easily be transferred from someone’s hands or clothes into the sample that is sent to the lab. She said the spigot that is used to collect the water sample could also have been contaminated, rather than the actual city water system.

Tests examined Saturday were clear and allowed for the order to be rescinded.

Because of the boil order on Friday, some businesses closed on what would have otherwise been a busy night, and some stores sold out of bottled water.

At grocery stores across Tyler, empty shelves were a common sight as people stocked up on bottled water. Meanwhile, some restaurants, like Don Juan’s on the downtown square, closed for the evening. Down Broadway at Chick-fil-A, a sign was posted saying the dining room had been closed because of the boil notice.

Chick-fil-A displayed a sign indicating they were closed due to the boil order.
Chick-fil-A displayed a sign indicating they were closed due to the boil order.(KLTV)

Friday night high school football was also affected, with schools using bottled water to fill up containers for players at the Tyler High home game against Mesquite Horn.

All of these changes were made in response to a routine test.

“We ran the follow-up samples — repeats as they’re called — and at that same sample site, total coliform was detected, and so at that point we then were required to issue the boil water notice,” said Kate Dietz, Tyler’s director of utilities.

E. coli is a type of bacteria that has the potential to be dangerous, especially for infants, young children, the elderly and people with severely compromised immune systems.

Possible effects include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. NET Health said they have not received any reports of people becoming sick as a result of the water issues.

Tyler Water Utilities flushed the water system and took additional samples to ensure sufficient levels of disinfectant were present.

“After collecting these samples today, we should be cleared tomorrow midday, and that’s when we expect to rescind the notice,” Dietz said.

In the meantime, many Tyler Water customers stocked up on bottled water. The Northeast Texas Public Health District laboratory tested samples from the field after an 18-hour incubation period. Those results came back negative, allowing the City of Tyler to rescind the boil water notice on Saturday.

Customers with questions about this process can contact the Golden Road Water Treatment Plant at (903) 597-6541.

Because of the boil order, some businesses closed on what would have otherwise been a busy Friday night, and some stores sold out of bottled water.
Carts were full as people responded to the boil order.
Carts were full as people responded to the boil order.(KLTV)
Residents bought bottled water.
Residents bought bottled water.(KLTV)