Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will visit Lake Jackson on Tuesday to see how the city is dealing with its water quality emergency following the death of a child from a brain-eating amoeba.
The governor will also hold a news conference. On Sunday, he issued a disaster declaration for Brazoria County.
A boil water order is in place for Lake Jackson.
Initially, a Do-Not-Use Advisory was issued, but that has since been lifted.
The change comes as state and city officials worked to flush and disinfect the city’s system after tests revealed the possible presence of genetic material related to the amoeba in three water samples. Out of 56 test sites, 14 also had low chlorine levels, according to Lake Jackson City Manager Modesto Mundo.
“Why was the level low in those spots? We will have to do a complete model of our system to see where the vulnerable points are,” said Mundo, who added that the deadly amoeba could have also gotten in through a cross-connection in the system.
Mundo said the city began a free chlorine conversion late Saturday night that is expected to last 60 days. The system is reportedly required to undergo a full flush, which may cause the water to taste or smell different. The city urges residents to limit water usage for the next two months.
The amoeba was suspected in the local water supply after 6-year-old Josiah McIntyre died Sept. 8, Mundo said.
Water samples from a water hose bib at McIntyre’s home, the civic center fountain and a fire hydrant tested positive for genetic material related to the amoeba. All locations are within a mile of the little boy’s home. McIntyre played at the civic center fountain in late August before becoming ill, Mundo said. The attraction was closed as a precaution.
The amoeba, known as naegleria fowleri, initially impacted customers of the Brazosport Water Authority. TCEQ later said that Brazosport’s water was safe.
“Brazosport Water Authority provides water to 6 other cities beyond Lake Jackson and in those communities, the water is safe, drinkable and useable. In Lake Jackson, they need to follow the recommendations from the city and TCEQ.”Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton
Naegleria fowleri typically affects people when the contaminated water enters their body through their nose, according to the CDC. That’s why it’s important that residents not get water in their noses until the supply is deemed safe. It can be used for cooking, bathing and drinking as long as it’s boiled.
The CDC said people cannot get infected from swallowing water contaminated with Naegleria fowleri.
Symptoms of the illness include headaches, vomiting, fever and becoming disoriented.
Members of the Texas National Guard will continue water distribution to residents on Tuesday at Lake Jackson REC Center on Lake Road. Each vehicle gets one free case of bottled water.