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Killeen restaurants adapting to city-wide boil water notice

Expert warns of dangers of drinking unpotable water
Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 5:24 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - The entire city of Killeen remains under a boil water notice for a third day because the chlorine levels at city water stations are below state requirements - and the city acknowledged it does not know when the advisory will be lifted.

Now, it’s one thing to have to boil water at home for your family of four. It’s another thing when you’re boiling water to feed hundreds of customers.

Local restaurant owners who spoke with News 10 said they’re making changes, but it’s costing them.

Costamar Seafood and Grill Owner Luiggie Rodriguez says all the extra water-boiling is taking a lot of time and money.

“Everything that requires water in this restaurant is shut down,” he said.

“The soda machine is shut down and we are just serving water bottles. Now, the kitchen crew, usually, they come here a certain time. Now they have to be here two hours prior so we can start doing our prep,” said Rodriguez.

“We need to boil the water just to rinse the vegetables that we use. We have to boil the water to cook rice, we have to boil water for everything we do back there.”

Restaurants and other businesses like H-E-B are also being forced to ration water bottles due to limited supplies.

Texas A&M Central Texas Nursing Director Amy Mersiovsky said this rigorous precaution is exactly what everyone needs to follow because the effects of consuming water that does not meet state standards can be dangerous.

“It could get nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, some bloody stool,” she said, “So actually, they could get pretty sick.”

Mersiovsky said water that is not boiled is also bad for pets.

“Do exactly what you would do with the human, because pets can have the same bacterial or parasite infections that humans can get,” she said.

For those who dine at Costamar Bar and Grill, Rodriguez and his team said the precautions are difficult, but necessary.

“It’s a little bit of an effort, but for us, our safety and the safety of our customers is worth it,” he said.

“I just try to take it day by day and praying and hoping that everything is going to settle soon. "

The water issue in Killeen is causing a change in the water disinfection process for several nearby cities including Belton, Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, Killeen, Nolanville, 439 Water Supply Corporation, and the Fort Hood Military Reservation.

The process of disinfectant will be swith from a combination of ammonia and chlorine to just “free chlorine,” according to the Bell County Water Improvement and Control District No. 1. The conversion process will last for one month until Nov. 22.

The WCID says residents may during the conversion residents may notice a bleach smell in their tap water.

The city of Killeen is offering free water bottles to residents who cannot boil water at home. Residents can call (254) 501-6315 request water.

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