Austin Water issued a city-wide boil water notice Wednesday evening due to power loss at the Ullrich water treatment plant, the city's largest, and drops in water pressures to below minimum standards, which could introduce contaminants into the water distribution system.
Austin Water is working with Austin Energy to restore power at the treatment plant. The utility issued a limited boil water notice earlier in the day due to a burst water main in the Circle C neighborhood and implemented new mandatory conservation measures in an attempt to avoid the current situation.
City residents should boil tap water vigorously for at least two minutes before using it for drinking or cooking. (Start your time when the water begins to bubble.) This includes water used for brushing teeth, making ice, preparing baby formula, washing raw foods and pets. Boiling removes harmful bacteria in the water that may cause illness. Residents should throw out any ice made during the notice period, as freezing does not kill bacteria.
Unboiled tap water is safe for washing dishes but residents should use hot, soapy water and rinse dishes in boiled water. It is also safe for bathing.
Residents without power but who have access to working gas stoves can use them to boil water, Austin Water Director Greg Maszaros said during a press conference earlier in the day. Otherwise, they will need bottled water.
City-wide boil water notice issued due to power loss at Ullrich Water Treatment Plant and drop in water pressure below minimum standards. We are working with #Austin Energy to assess the system. Boil water for consumption. Follow guidelines at https://t.co/cReBGhnJAp pic.twitter.com/dzD0YjFuYu
— Austin Water (@AustinWater) February 18, 2021
The notice arrives as the Austin area approaches 72 hours of widespread power outages. Although Austin Energy reports fewer customers are currently impacted—138,494 or about 27%—than were over the past few days, an increasing number of residents are facing water outages due to burst pipes.
St. David's South Austin Medical Center lost water pressures earlier in the day, along with "a number of other hospitals in the Austin area," according to a statement issued by St. David's HealthCare CEO David Huffstutler Wednesday evening. The facility's boiler relies on water, so it is also losing heat.
The hospital currently has just under 300 patients, and its team is working with city officials to transport the most critical patients to other hospitals, discharge those patients who can safely return home and get water trucks and portable toilets on site.
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When Gov. Greg Abbott announced that he would rescind business capacity limits and a statewide masking mandate on Texas Independence Day, he framed it as a step forward. "With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny," he said during a press conference at a Mexican restaurant in Lubbock.
But some local restaurants and bars, which have been caught in the regulatory crosshairs since Texas' first positive COVID test 364 days ago, have chosen to ignore Abbott's overture. Instead, they will continue to maintain pandemic precautions once the executive order takes effect next week, citing a desire to keep their staff and patrons safe.
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(AUSTIN, TEXAS) Austonia has hired Claire Partain as a reporter covering Austin FC, the MLS expansion team that will be Austin's first major league sports franchise.
Partain is a former sports editor for the The University Star, Texas State University's daily newspaper. She edited, covered sports, produced podcasts, and hosted a pre-game TXST football tailgate live series. Partain has been freelancing with the company since January, prior to accepting a staff position.
A native of Fairfield, Texas, Partain grew up playing youth soccer. In her high school years, she played alongside her mother in what was then called the Freestone County Hispanic Women's Soccer League.
Claire's coverage philosophy: "I like to bring out the humanity of sports, and I want to make this the most accessible sports coverage possible."
She notes that soccer is the predominant sport for young people. "It's a global sport, and we're more connected to the world than older generations."
That approach fits the team's already visible presence in Austin, says Austonia CEO Mark Dewey. "Austin FC has established itself as a leading Austin brand, one that stands for a more unified Austin community, a bigger global presence for Austin and fun. Austonia shares those values."
Partain's soccer coverage begins immediately, with her free, hosted text service—Austonia FC. For updates, special access and inside info, all moderated by Claire, sign up below.
Austonia is the city's independent, free, locally-owned and all-digital source for Austin news, information and entertainment.
Connect with Austonia through its daily email newsletter and text updates, @austonianews Instagram feed, @austonianews and @austinist Twitter feeds, @austonianews Facebook page and its website austonia.com.
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Austin Public Health will release another batch of first dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments for Thursday on Wednesday evening. A department spokesperson estimates between 3,000 and 4,000 slots will be available.
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