Posted May 08, 2019 12:01:20Harvey’s water quality is still being monitored and improved, but it has reached the point where officials say it is likely that it is not going to be safe to drink in some areas, including Houston, and that water treatment plants may not be able to keep up with the demand.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a state of emergency for Texas on Monday for areas affected by Harvey, but has been mum on how it will be implemented.
Officials from the Department of Emergency Management (DEMA) said they are still working with local officials to get the water to residents in the affected areas and the water is being treated.
The department said the emergency is for the water system, the state’s emergency management agencies and residents.
“The water systems in Texas and Louisiana are being tested and will be able restore to normal within a few days,” said DEMA spokesman Brian Brown.
Brown said the state is monitoring the water supply and has sent out water advisories to more than 3,000 customers in Houston and other cities.
Brown added that there are no plans to close any facilities or divert water from any system.
However, it is possible that some of the water could leak out of the system and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Officials have been monitoring water levels in parts of the Gulf Coast since the storm, and there are reports that some water systems have reached dangerous levels of lead and arsenic.
Some parts of Louisiana, including New Orleans, are now testing higher levels of the toxic metal than normal, according to the city’s Department of Environmental Quality.
The federal government has issued more than $1 billion in aid for the relief effort, which includes the construction of a dam and levee that could contain floodwaters, as well as an $800 million donation to Texas.
Greg Abbott said in a statement on Monday that he was “surprised and dismayed” to learn that the state had begun a public health emergency in Texas, and the state will be taking all necessary steps to protect the public.
“Our state’s response to this crisis has been exceptional, and our response is now focused on making sure Texans have access to clean drinking water and the health and safety of our people,” Abbott said.