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What to Do in a Water Crisis

What your public water system (PWS) must do and how to contact the TCEQ when immediate action is needed, as with loss of supply, loss of pressure, or contamination, regardless of the cause.

In each of these situations, a PWS must contact us immediately:

Boil Water Notice

If any conditions in your systems, such as a main break, make it necessary for you to issue a boil water notice, then you must inform us within 24 hours. Here’s how:

  1. Contact our Drinking Water Special Functions Section in one of these ways:

Texas Drinking Water Public Laboratory Map

TCEQ has developed the following map to help you locate NELAP accredited public laboratories across the state of Texas that offer microbial coliform testing. Use the map below to find a laboratory near you and their contact information. Always call laboratories to confirm their address, sample drop off hours, and prices.

E. coli MCL Coliform Violation

Within 24 hours of becoming aware of the sample results causing an E. coli MCL violation, the public water system (PWS) official must notify their customers using the mandatory language for issuing an E. coli MCL public notification and boil water notification. The PWS must also contact TCEQ and inform them of the fecal coliform/E. coli results within 24 hours of the laboratory notification of the results. If the agency is closed, then you must notify them of the results no later than the next business day. Please refer to 30 TAC 290.122 for more information on issuing the AMCL and BWN.

  • email: (Put “Coliform Violation Has Occurred” in the subject line.)
  • phone: 512/239-4691 (Ask to speak to the RTCR Program staff.)

Acute Turbidity Exceedance

If your PWS treats either surface water or groundwater under the influence of surface water, you must notify us as soon as possible within 24 hours of when either of these situations occurs:

  • CFE Turbidity >5.0 NTU. If any combined filter effluent sample exceeds 5.0 nephelometric turbidity units, you must notify your customers and us within 24 hours.
  • CFE Turbidity >1.0 NTU. Whenever a CFE sample exceeds 1.0 NTU, you must contact us. If for any reason you cannot consult with us within 24 hours, you must go ahead and issue a boil water notice.

If either of these situations occurs, contact us in at least one of these ways:

  • email: (Put either “CFE Turbidity >5.0 NTU” or “Reply ASAP: CFE Turbidity >1.0 NTU” in the subject line.)
  • phone: 512/239-4691 (Ask to speak to our surface water treatment rule staff).

Chlorine Dioxide Exceedance

If your PWS has an acute exceedance of the chlorine dioxide MCL, you must notify customers and us of the violation. Notify us in at least one of these ways:

  • email: (Put “Chlorite Exceedance” in the subject line.)
  • phone: 512/239-4691 (Ask to speak to our surface water treatment rule staff about a chlorite exceedance.)

Outbreak of Waterborne Disease

Whenever you become aware of a waterborne disease outbreak within your PWS, you must contact us in one of these ways:

  • email: (Put “URGENT: Waterborne Disease Outbreak” in the subject line.)
  • phone: 512/239-4691 (Ask to speak to Drinking Water Standards Section Manager)

If it is clear from the nature of the incident that a boil water notice would be appropriate, issue the notice immediately and contact us right away.

Spills That Could Affect the Environment

If you become aware of a spill that could affect the Texas environment, report it to our Regional office emergency response staff.

Other Threats to Your Customers’ Health

If any other incident arises that does or could threaten your customers’ health through the contamination or loss of your water supply, contact us as soon as possible in one of these ways:

  • email: (Begin the subject line with “URGENT:” and add a brief description of the nature of the incident.)
  • phone: 512/239-4691 (Ask to speak to drinking water standards section manager.)

Our staff will help you assess the potential threat and determine your best course of action.