Left out of boil water orders, some Texans may need to test wells

Left out of boil water orders, some Texans may need to test wells

An unprecedented winter storm swept across Texas and left many of its residents without power and water for multiple days in Houston, Texas in February, 2021. Many residents are still unable to drink their water until a plumber can address the cracks in their pipes, which were caused by freezing temperatures. | Photo by Callaghan OHare for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Unlike millions of Texans who received boil water notices from utility companies, families who rely on private wells have been left to figure out for themselves whether their water is safe to drink in the wake of last week’s deep freeze.

“There’s no warning put out there in the press for what these homeowners who have their own water supply, what they should be doing in these scenarios to protect themselves and their family,” says Jackie Young-Medcalf, executive director of the nonprofit Texas Health and Environment Alliance.

Bacteria and contaminants can find their way into cracks in pipes that burst after freezing. As a result, millions of people on public water systems were told by utilities to…

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