Anyone who gets their tap water from Brazosport Water Authority should discontinue its use immediately, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced late Friday night.
The commission informed the authority of a potential naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba, in the water supply after 9 p.m. Friday.
The water authority said it had been informed of a potential primary amebic meningoencephalitis at 10 p.m. Friday. TCEQ asked the authority to issue a "do not use" advisory for all water it supplies, the statement said.
The cities and agencies that get water from Brazosport Water Authority include Lake Jackson, Freeport, Angleton, Brazoria, Richwood, Oyster Creek, Clute, Rosenberg, Dow Chemical, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Clemens and Wayne Scott units.
Residents of the impacted area are advised to not use tap water for any reason, including bathing, but flushing the toilet is OK, the TCEQ statement said.
Water authority staff will work with TCEQ as soon as possible, BWA Chief Operator Felix Davis said from the plant in Lake Jackson after 11 p.m. Friday. He did not know whether TCEQ personnel would arrive Friday night or early Saturday morning, but they intend to get water restored as soon as possible, he said.
Lake Jackson is waiting for more information, City Manager Modesto Mundo said, as they had not gotten a notice from TCEQ at 11:30 p.m. Friday.
Council will have an emergency meeting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Mayor Bob Sipple said, and they intend to advise residents on accurate information as quickly as possible.
The do-not-use advisory will remain in place until the water system is flushed and samples indicate that the water is safe to use, TCEQ said on Twitter.
“It is not known at this time how long this may take,” the statement said. “The health and safety of the public water system’s customers is TCEQ’s priority.”
Naegleria fowleri is a free-living microscopic amoeba, or single-celled living organism, that can cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis, according to the CDC.
“We will continue to work with the Centers of Disease Control and the Texas Department of State Health Services and TCEQ to ensure the water supply is restored to normal use as quickly as possible,” the statement from Brazosport Water Authority said. “The Brazosport Water Authority will continue to provide updates to the public as we work to resolve this situation.”