Boiling water no longer needed in Lake Jackson weeks after brain-eating amoeba found in water supply

Texas

TCEQ Investigators in Lake Jackson to conduct water sampling. (Twitter: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality)

LAKE JACKSON, Texas (KXAN) — Residents of Lake Jackson, Texas no longer need to boil water before use, city and state health officials said Tuesday.

KPRC in Houston reports the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said disinfectant levels were above the state-mandated level in the city’s water supply. Tests were also done for bacteria and harmful microbes, and those came back negative as well.

This stems from the death of 6-year-old Josiah McIntyre of Lake Jackson after it was discovered a brain-eating amoeba he contracted at a city splash pad was the cause of his death. McIntyre died Sept. 8.

Following the discovery of the amoeba Naeglera fowleri, area officials first issued a “do not use” order for water in all of Brazoria County on Sept. 26, then reduced it to a boil water notice for Lake Jackson once the problem was isolated.

The expired boil water notice is the first hurdle the city cleared in restoring its water supply. At a press conference Sept. 29, TCEQ Executive Director Toby Baker said the city has to flushed its water system with chlorine to “burn” all the possible microbes in the system now, and and that could take up to 60 days.

The only way the amoeba is harmful is if contaminated water goes far enough up someone’s nose that the amoeba can travel through the nasal cavity and into the brain, where it then destroys brain tissue. Drinking water with the amoeba in it will not get anyone sick.

Naeglera fowleri is commonly found in bodies of water throughout Texas, but officials believe this was the first time it has been detected in a municipal water system.

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