South Austin residents report ‘soapy water’ in their faucets after Wednesday church fire



AUSTIN (KXAN) — A fire in south Austin Wednesday may be having an effect on the water quality at more than 300 homes, some businesses and Kocurek Elementary School.

The fire happened at the Westoak Woods Baptist Church on West Slaughter Lane near West Gate Boulevard.

MORE: Slaughter Lane church fire caused by an electrical issues, AFD says

Now, Austin Water is looking into reports of soapy water and whether the response to the fire caused the water quality issue.

“We all discovered this on our own and it made you feel a little bit crazy because there’s foam coming out,” said Lauren Silva, a resident affected by the water. “It’s not like Netflix went out for the day, we depend on this. And I depend on this multiple times throughout the day just for basic sanitary purposes of taking care of a baby.”

The City of Austin flushed the lines in the Tanglewood Forest neighborhood and surrounding areas, but is still warning people not to drink the water.

In a statement to KXAN on Thursday, Austin Water said, in part:

“We received calls from residents shortly after the fire at Westoak Woods Baptist Church that occurred on Jan. 22. Residents reported ‘soapy, foamy water’ coming out of their faucets. Until we identify the source of the water quality issues, we determined it would be best to focus on public health and safety and ask residents not to drink the water.”

Cases of water were delivered to Kocurek Elementary on Wednesday night and throughout the area on Thursday. On Friday, Austin Water said it was delivering additional cases of bottled water to customers in the Tanglewood Forest neighborhood while they await additional test results that affected residents along Aftonshire Way, Nightjar Drive, Sugar Hill Drive and Curlew Drive.

The City says that both Austin Water and Austin Fire Department are conducting an evaluation of their operations to determine the source of the issue. Initial tests have been completed, the City of Austin says, but further testing is underway.

Austin Water says if customers still have soapy water, they should run their hoses and faucets until the water clears, or flush their hot water heater.

As of Friday, Austin Water still recommends residents in the area to avoid drinking or ingesting tap water.

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Austin-Travis County


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