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Midland issues boil water notice following a break in major water line

Mitch Borden
Marfa Public Radio

The notice for the city was issued after a construction crew hit a water line. Some households did lose access to running water, but city officials expect that to be restored soon.

A boil water notice was declared on Thursday across Midland following a break in a major waterline earlier in the week and a malfunction at the city’s water plant.

“If you’re anywhere in the city, you need to be boiling your water,” said Midland Mayor Patrick Payton, who briefed the public on the situation, alongside other city officials.

The city is setting up water distribution centers at several locations, including the Martin Luther King Center, the First Baptist Church, Midland College and Stonegate Fellowship.

A city spokesperson stated distribution centers won't be available Thursday night, but hopes to have information on water distribution by Friday morning. To learn more about what to do during a boil water notice click here.

As a result of the disruption, Midland County issued a disaster declaration and Midland Independent School District and Midland College canceled classes for Friday, Jan. 6.

The chain of events that caused the boil water notice began on Monday, according to Midland Utilities Director Carl Craigo. He said, a construction crew working in West Midland earlier this week hit a water line, causing a tower of water to shoot into the air – losing “millions of gallons of water.”

At that time, water was still safe to drink in Midland, according to officials, but Craigo said a recent malfunction at Midland’s water treatment plant, exacerbated by the loss of water and human error, caused the water quality across the city to fall below state standards.

“We had a mechanical and operator issue at this plant which failed to follow the proper protocols to keep the water the way we need to keep it,” Craigo explained. “We had a failure of a level indicator, it let our reservoir get down too low that allowed us to soak in dirty water. By the time they noticed that water had already made it into our treatment plant.”

Craigo said the Midland’s current water quality is comparable to “lake water,” but he expects the boil water notice to only last a few days. Some parts of Midland have experienced water outages as a result of recent events, but Craigo said running water should be restored shortly to those areas.

Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.