Corpus Christi: Water Is All Clear After Chemical Spill

City ends 4-day ban after worries that asphalt plant contaminated water supply
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 18, 2016 12:30 PM CST
Corpus Christi: Water Is All Clear After Chemical Spill
In a May 14, 2016, file photo, Mouttet from the Corpus Christi Utilities Department collects a sample of water to test in Corpus Christi, Texas.   (Gabe Hernandez/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP, File)

A nearly four-day ban on drinking the water in Corpus Christi, Texas, was lifted on Sunday after test results showed no contamination due to a chemical leak, reports the AP. Mayor Dan McQueen said residents could resume using the city's water supply for drinking, bathing, and cooking. "It is all full use but we are going to continue to monitor as we go on," McQueen said. None of the 28 drinking water samples the Environmental Protection Agency reviewed tested positive for Indulin AA-86, an asphalt-emulsifying agent that's corrosive, the federal agency said Sunday. Indulin can burn the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract if a person comes into contact with concentrated amounts. The water ban had been issued late Wednesday out of concern that a chemical leak at an asphalt plant could have contaminated the city's water supply.

The EPA said there have been seven "unconfirmed" reports of symptoms possibly related to prohibited water use. The federal agency, along with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, will continue collecting and testing water samples over the next few days. Officials in Corpus Christi began on Sunday to dismantle distribution centers that had been set up to give water to residents, said City Manager Margie Rose. The mayor cautioned residents to be conservative in water use to avoid overtaxing the system after water tanks were flushed in parts of the city, which has about 300,000 residents along the Texas Gulf Coast. On Saturday, city officials said that there had been three reports of dirty water before the ban was issued. McQueen said officials will continue investigating the leak at the asphalt plant and seek possible damages from those responsible. (More Corpus Christi stories.)

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