UPDATE: Corpus Christ schools were closed on Friday after the city’s tap water ban following a potential chemical spill in the city’s water supply. Lines to purchase bottled water at grocery stores extended outside of stores.
The City of Corpus Christi has issued a ban on tap water after a possible chemical contamination in the city’s water supply.
City officials released a statement early Thursday morning (Dec. 15) informing residents that they should only use bottled water and avoid trying to boil or treat any tap water until further notice.
The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports the chemical leak happened at a facility in an industrial zone. The chemicals are indulin and hydrochloric acid. After initial tests, officials said the contamination is contained to the industrial zone. They are awaiting further results.
The leak reportedly occurred near Valero Petroleum Corp.’s asphalt terminal. A statement from Valero said the issue may stem from a “backflow issue from third party operations.”
“We believe this issue is isolated to a lateral industrial line,” said Valero spokeswoman Lillian Riojas in a statement. “Valero is offering its resources to assist the city in isolating the issue and to help confirm this has not impacted the city’s water supply.”
Chron.com reports a Corpus Christi attorney has already filed a lawsuit against Valero Energy Corp. less than a day after residents were notified of the possible contamination.
The Caller-Times reports that city officials were first alerted to the issue on Wednesday when they received a call about dirty water near downtown. An investigation traced it back to the industrial zone.
The Environmental Protection Agency is reportedly joining the investigation into the incident. A spokeswoman for the city of Corpus Christi said they have also contacted the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and are working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Officials had previously said the contaminant was Indulin AA86, and said that the petroleum-based chemical is not poisonous and is not expected to be a health hazard because it is mixed with water.
All residents have been urged to stop using tap water and to use only bottled water until further notice.