To help clarify your water concerns regarding the current boil water advisory and water use restrictions we have developed the following FAQ. If you have questions that are not listed here please email email@example.com.
- Should I stop using water or should I just conserve?
Water should be used for essential needs only; health, safety and hygiene. On Wednesday, February 17, 2021 we released a message from the Mayor and our Public Works Director asking people to stop using water unless absolutely necessary. Our water levels are critically low due to water leaks occurring all over the city. It is crucial for people to stop using water as much as possible.
We are experiencing unprecedented times with the lack of water sources in our area. The City of Houston supplies much of the region, and we in Seabrook are one of their customers by way of the City of Pasadena water network. The City of Houston Southeast Houston Water Purification Plant and the City of Pasadena began having pressure issues, much like most of the state, on Monday and as a result, the Seabrook water supply was cut off from Pasadena due to lack of pressure. As you may have seen, many of our surrounding communities are still experiencing little to no water pressure at all for their residents and customers.
The City of Seabrook is currently supplementing our water resources with emergency use water wells. These wells have the capability to produce the minimum pressures for the City of Seabrook and are in no way able to keep up with the demand with water leaks of this magnitude, much less fire protection needs.
We have to continue as a community to strictly conserve our resources, or we run the risk of depleting the water we do have and run out of our supply. We will continue to work around the clock to try to maintain these minimum pressures in Seabrook and look forward to our neighboring cities recovering as well.
- Why do we have to boil our water?
We are asking residents to boil their water prior to consumption for two reasons.
Both the City of Houston and the City of Pasadena have issued boil water notices and we purchase our water from these providers.
The boil water advisory was issued by these providers as a health and safety precaution due to low water pressures.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requires water to be boiled if low pressures reach a certain threshold and both the City of Houston and the City of Pasadena reached these thresholds. When pressure is not maintained there is an increased risk that pathogens (germs and bacteria) will infiltrate the water system; boiling the water prior to consumption will kill these pathogens. While the City of Seabrook has not reached the threshold point required by TCEQ, we still issued the boil water advisory out of an abundance of caution since both the City of Houston and the City of Pasadena issued one.
Common reasons for a boil water notice include loss of pressure in the distribution system, loss of disinfection and other unexpected water quality problems. These often result from events such as water line breaks, treatment disruptions, power outages and floods.
When will the boil water advisory and the water use restrictions be lifted?
Several factors will determine when the boil water advisory and water restriction can be lifted.
When the water pressure and supply levels stabilize allowing water service from the City of Pasadena to resume.
The City of Seabrook is required to pull water samples for three consecutive days to be tested. The water samples cannot contain any contamination. Due to the winter storm impacts, our testing facility will not be able to accept samples until Monday. It is our hope to test the water on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
When both the City of Houston and the City of Pasadena lift their water restrictions and boil water advisory.
We truly appreciate everyone doing their part during this difficult time. We will lift the boil water advisory and water restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so and in accordance with our water providers. Please be prepared to continue these efforts for at least the next 7-10 days.
How long should I boil water for consumption and cooking?
If feasible, use bottled water for drinking and cooking. If you do need to boil water for consumption bring the water to a vigorous/full-rolling boil for 2-minutes. Allow the water to cool before use. Water may take up to 30 minutes to cool, so plan ahead. We recommend making a batch of boiled water in advance so it will be available as needed. Additional recommendations may be found on the CDC’s website.
According to the CDC, pets can get sick from the same pathogens as people, so they recommend giving pets bottled or cooled boiled water as well.
Why don’t I have water pressure?
The entire city is experiencing low water pressure due to the limited water supplies. The City of Seabrook is currently supplementing our water resources with emergency use water wells. These wells have the capability to produce the minimum pressures for the City of Seabrook and are in no way able to keep up with the demand with water leaks of this magnitude, much less fire protection needs.
Low water pressure may also be the result of a water leak. Please be sure to check your home and property for water leaks. Low pressure at a faucet may be due to a break/leak that is upstream towards the water meter. Contact the city to assist you in turning off the water. More information on what to do if you have a leak is answered in question 9.
Low pressure may also be the result of running multiple water sources at the same time and you will notice reduced pressure due to the total load.
Is it safe to drink filtered water or use ice made from an ice maker?
Do not consume water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator. Bag ice may be available for purchase at local stores.
Is it safe to shower, wash dishes/clothes or brush my teeth with the water?
It is ok to wash hands, shower and bathe, just avoid swallowing water. Use caution when bathing babies and small children; consider giving children sponge baths (sponge baths also help conserve water). To further conserve water you can capture the water in a storage container or pot when warming water for showers. That water can be used to flush toilets, wash dishes and more. To conserve water while washing hands; quickly wet hands and turn off water, lather with soap for 20 seconds; turn back on water to quickly rinse.
It is ok to wash dishes (use soap/bleach) and clothes; ensure dishes are dry prior to use. Please keep in mind we are under strict water use restrictions. Do not run dishwashers or washing machines. When necessary, wash dishes and clothes by hand. If possible use disposable plates, cups and utensils. Baby bottles should be sterilized in boiling water. Additional information on how to wash dishes and clothes during a boil water advisory can be found on the CDC’s website.
The CDC recommends using bottled water to brush teeth. Do not use un-boiled tap water.
Can you provide examples of “essential water use”?
Water customers should only be using the city water supply for essential needs that support health, safety and hygiene.
Water needed for hydration; must be boiled and cooled prior to consumption. If you have bottled water, use it for drinking.
You may cook with the city’s water when boiled first. If you have bottled water, consider using it instead of tap water.
Showers for hygiene should be limited and very short; capture the cold water in a container/pot while warming, this water can be used for other uses such as baths, toilets and dishes.
Do not fill the bathtub; consider a sponge bath or recycling the cold water from the shower by slightly warming it on the stove first (be careful to not overheat the water).
Dishes should be washed by hand. Turn on the hot water; capture the cold water in a pot while the water is heating up; capture the hot water in another pot; add soap/vinegar/bleach (preferred disinfectant) to the hot water; use hot soapy water to clean; use cold water to rinse; dry dishes. Do not pour out the water in the pots, use the left over water for flushing toilets.
Flush toilets only when necessary. Avoid feminine products and other paper products. Use recycled water from the shower, dishes and other sources to flush toilets. It is ok to use pool water to flush toilets when necessary.
DO NOT use dishwashers, washing machines or garbage disposals.
Prohibited water usage:
All outdoor irrigation, including drip irrigation, hand-held water and water buckets is PROHIBITED under current restrictions.
Use of water to wash any motor vehicle, motorbike, boat, trailer, airplane, or other vehicle is prohibited at all times.
The filling, refilling, or adding of potable water to private swimming, wading, or Jacuzzi-type pools is prohibited.
Aesthetic water use is prohibited.
Turn off the water if you have a water leak. If you need assistance turning off the water call (281) 291-5725 during business hours. After-hours call (281) 291-5610. You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What should I do if I have a leak?
If you have a leak, the water to your home needs to be shut off. Leaks are depleting the city’s water supply. Seabrook water customers should contact Public Works for assistance turning off water. Do not attempt to turn the water off at the meter; city staff should do this for you. Public Works can only assist City of Seabrook water customers. Please verify you are a City of Seabrook water customer by looking at your utility bill to ensure it is from the City of Seabrook. We do not service El Lago, Taylor Lake Village, Pasadena, El Jardin or Clear Lake Water Authority customers.
Leaks that are located on private property are the responsibility of the home/business owner and should be repaired by a licensed plumber. Leaks located within the city’s right-of-way will be repaired by the city. Please understand there is currently a very high-demand for area plumbers and that this will impact the timeline for repairs to be completed.
If you have a leak that has caused damage to your home or property, be sure to immediately contact your insurance agent to report the damage. We also encourage you to complete our Winter Storm Uri Damage form online at https://www.seabrooktx.gov/FormCenter/Community-Development-13/Winter-Storm-Uri-Damage-Report-81.
10. How will this event impact my utility bill?
Utility late payment fees will be waived and all utility disconnects due to non-payment have been temporarily suspended. Please be advised that late notices may still be released. If you have a leak that was left unattended for a prolonged period or did not have your water shut off to control the leak, then you may see an increase during the next billing period. This is another reason that we highly recommend getting the water shut off to your home as soon as possible if you have a leak.