SAWS Ends Boil Water Notice

San Antonio Water System customers no longer have to boil their drinking water. The agency ended the advisory on Feb. 23 with an announcement on Twitter:

SAWS issued the following instructions for customers:

While the notice has been lifted, we still recommend that customers flush household pipes, ice makers and water fountains prior to using water for drinking or cooking.

  • Flush pipes by running each hot and cold water faucet for two minutes.
  • Flush, clean, and sanitize appliances that use tap water (such as ice machine and dishwasher) according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle.
  • Take proper steps to flush ice machines by following the manufacturer’s instructions, including at a minimum: Throw out ice remaining in all bins. Make one additional batch of ice in each machine, and discard this batch of ice.
  • Throw out any ice remaining in all bins.
  • Make one additional batch of ice in each machine, and discard this batch of ice.
  • Put in new replaceable filters on refrigerators and other appliances.
  • Run drinking fountains continuously for two minutes to flush the system.

The initial boil water notice came Feb. 17, 2021after water pressure dropped below state standards during the sub-freezing winter storm.

SAWS CEO Richard Puente first announced the measure during an emergency meeting of the San Antonio City Council.

Puente called the measure "precautionary," although it is required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality when water pressure drops below 20 psi.

"Because of the constant loss of water from broken pipes," Puente told the City Council, "we used more water yesterday than some of the hottest days of the year, and that caused the pressure to go down in system." 

Water pipes froze and burst throughout the area after a brutal winter storm brought days of below-freezing temperatures. Water pipes even broke in the homes of top SAWS leadership, including Puente, the board char and the chief operating officer. 

Because more than 200,000 people in Bexar County have no power, Puente said SAWS is "working to ensure that those who cannot boil their water have water. We will be working with our city and entities to get water to you."

Read the SAWS news release here.

Boil Water Procedures:

  • To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.
  • In lieu of boiling, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source for drinking water or human consumption purposes.
  • When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, SAWS will notify customers that the water is safe for drinking water or human consumption purposes.
  • Once the boil water notice is no longer in effect, SAWS will issue a notice to customers that rescinds the boil water notice in a manner similar to this notice.