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'The water was safe from day one' | One-on-one interview with Mayor Turner on boil water notice

Mayor Turner said the way the public was alerted to the boil water notice is under review.

HOUSTON, Texas — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said this week's boil water notice may not have been necessary, but the precautionary measure did help ensure safe drinking water for residents, just in case. 

“I certainly want to apologize to schools that had to close, businesses that were impacted,” said Turner during an event Tuesday with the Texas Tribune.

He told KHOU 11 News the data that led to the notice being lifted was what he suspected since Sunday when the boil water notice was issued following a power outage at the East Water Purification Plant.

"Of the 29 samples that we took from different areas within the city, not one of those samples had any bacteria or any contamination," Turner said. "So, quite frankly, when you look back on it, the water was safe from day one.”

Turner said issuing the notice out of an abundance of caution came after collaboration with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and despite serious questions about whether it was warranted.

"Certainly the process is in place to protect people’s safety,” said Turner.

News of the boil water notice being lifted was sent out immediately despite the initial boil water notice not being blasted out to residents until eight hours after the problem was detected at the plant. 

Turner said the way the initial notice was delivered is being modified.

"To make sure we get notifications out much quicker and to more people," said Turner. "I will say to people, please sign up. Sign up for the alerts.”

Turner previously requested a full review of the power outage incident in hopes of mitigating future issues.

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