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Thousands In Fort Worth Warned To Boil Water

Christian Boschult/Fort Worth Star-Telegram
A worker unloads water from a truck in north Fort Worth.

Thousands of residents in far North Fort Worth are being told to boil their water today because of possible contamination. Restaurants are closed, schools have shut down water fountains and the city is handing out bottled water.

The city started handing out water early this morning – first from small tanker trucks and then in packages of bottled water. 

The Fort Worth Water Department says an operational error caused water pressure to drop Wednesday night. That may have allowed bacteria and other microbes to enter the system, so the Texas Department of Environmental Quality required the city to issue a boil order. The order only applies to water for drinking, cooking and making ice.

Water handed out early from one of the tanker trucks may have been discolored. The water department says it should be safe to drink, but that residents should feel free to toss it and pick up packaged water and one of the city’s handout locations.

Chrystal Cox picked up bottles of water at VR Eaton High School. This mom of three kids and an Australian Shepherd says it’s not much of a burden.

Credit City of Fort Worth
Map of the affected area

“I find myself boiling water for my dog, which is quite silly,” Cox said. “My kids are, they don’t really care. They loved not brushing their teeth this morning or taking a bath!”

Tina Cooper is also nonchalant. She’s a bus driver for the school district… she didn’t find out about the water problems until late morning.

“I just want to be prepared, so that’s the reason I came and got water,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about it because I was already out so early this morning. But I just want to be prepared.”

Brittney Patten says she drank some of the water last night before the city’s warning came out, but she feels fine. She has a three year old and a five month old who’s on formula.

“We use a lot of water,” she said. “Luckily I saw [the boil warning] this morning before he got his first bottle. So it was a little unexpected this morning.”

The water department will continue handing out bottled water until the ban is lifted. The city is testing the water, but won’t know if the water is contaminated until Friday morning at the earliest.

Readmore for our friends at the Star-Telegram.

Christopher Connelly is a reporter covering issues related to financial instability and poverty for KERA’s One Crisis Away series. In 2015, he joined KERA to report on Fort Worth and Tarrant County. From Fort Worth, he also focused on politics and criminal justice stories.