City doesn’t know if water to blame for 14 reported stomach issues

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin’s boil water notice is no longer optional. It’s now an order from the State of Texas after water turbidity tests failed to meet standards. In short, the water is dirty going into plants so it takes longer to clean.

In the last few days, more than a dozen people went to the hospital for vomiting, diarrhea or nausea, say health officials. However, there is not yet a direct connection between the hospitalizations and the water incident. 

Meanwhile, the city is taking action. 

Workers stacked up bottles all day along William Cannon Drive. Bottles filled cars coming through the Onion Creek Soccer Complex. The city set up this free distribution center along with four others.

Benito Flores came through on his way home.

“I’ve got a couple of kids. They play high school football so you know they drink water like nobody’s business. So having to boil it just takes too long,” said Flores.

There are more than 20 city workers at the water station in south Austin from multiple departments.

“We’ll drink it and we’ll use it for cooking and not waste it. Right now, water is very important, we can’t waste anything,” said Teresa Luna. She has three children and four adults in her house.

The city advises all families to take precautions. Wednesday, the director of Austin Public Health, Stephanie Hayden, told KXAN they know of at least 14 people who went to the hospital with gastrointestinal problems. Hayden says they don’t yet know if the water is to blame.

“It’s hard to say. Because a person just could have just really ate the wrong thing and it didn’t agree with them,” said Hayden.

Staff for the city constantly communicate with hospitals and recommend action if something is wrong after drinking tap water.

“We would ask you to go to your physician if you are having some challenges,” said Hayden.

Those challenges are preventable she says if people boil their water or drink it from a bottle.

Austin Public Health is also in charge of making sure restaurants and food trucks are boiling their water. They have 25 inspectors going around with technical assistance and on-site education. 

There are several distribution sites across Austin for those who are unable to boil water or need it for work. They’re open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. But the one in northwest Austin will close at 5 p.m. on Friday. Residents are limited to one gallon per person.

  • Circuit of the Americas Parking Lot A (9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd.)
  • Kelly Reeves Athletics Complex (10211 W. Parmer Lane)
  • Walnut Creek Park (12138 N Lamar Blvd)
  • City of Austin Warehouse, formerly Home Depot (7211 N IH 35 SVRD NB)
  • Roy G. Guerrero Park (400 Grove Blvd)
  • Onion Creek Soccer Complex (5600 E William Cannon Dr)
  • Dick Nichols Park (8011 Beckett Rd)

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