Killeen city officials lifted two boil water notices for some 16,000 customers in the city Monday amid questions about delays in notifying residents and schools.
The city issued a separate boil water notice about 12:30 p.m. Monday for properties at 3502, 3504, 3602 and 3620 E. Central Texas Expressway, according to a news release from the city. Affected properties were notified directly, officials said.
Customers in two other areas - a large area of southwest Killeen and a smaller area around 2600 to 2909 Belt Loop - were told Monday they could resume normal use of water.
The initial notification of water quality concerns didn’t reach many customers in those areas - including 12 schools - until early Friday morning, raising questions about communications.
According to city spokeswoman Hilary Shine, the information was sent in a news release, water alert and news alert on the city website, Facebook page and Twitter.
The schools received the information about 8:10 a.m. Friday, after students had been served breakfast and had been drinking from the water fountains, according to a KISD statement Friday.
Water service disruption to the southwest portion of the city had been reported to the city at 7 p.m. Thursday after a water sensor malfunctioned in a ground storage tank.
The city notified residents at 4 a.m. Friday, after waiting to learn the source of the problem, Shine said Monday.
“This was an emergency notice, so our normal advance warning procedure couldn’t be used. This incident showed a need for better communication with the school district and other entities in these cases, so City staff is already working on solutions,” Shine said in an emailed response to Herald questions Monday. She did not specify the method of notification.
Shine said the city has an alert system through its new website.
“It’s free and the fastest way to get water notices, road closures, meeting notices and city news,” she said.
Shine said residents can go to www.killeentexas.gov and create an account through a link at the top left of the page. Once there, they can choose alert lists and whether they want alerts by email or text. All the water alerts are posted to both the water notices and news alert lists. Shine said the city also uses traditional media and social media to convey information.
The largest area under notice was between Fort Hood Street, Clear Creek Road, Watercrest Drive and state Highway 201.
The city gave the all-clear to use the water in that area at 1:45 p.m. Monday. The blocks along Belt Loop, where a water main had broken, were given the all-clear at 8:30 a.m. Monday.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has finished its water quality tests in these areas and says the water is safe to drink and use without boiling, the city said.
No illness related to the water quality had been reported, Shine said.
The Monday boil-water notice came after commercial construction at 3504 E. Central Texas Expressway caused the relocation of a water line that services the properties. Once water service is restored, affected properties must boil all water until further notice, Shine said.