Texas governor responds to 'brain-eating’ amoeba found in Lake Jackson water supply

Texas governor responds to 'brain-eating’ amoeba found in Lake Jackson water supply
Gov. Abbott (Source: Office of the Texas Governor)

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today provided an update on the state’s response to the presence of Naeglera Fowleri, a deadly amoeba, in the City of Lake Jackson’s water supply. The Governor issued a disaster declaration for Brazoria County on Sunday after the discovery of the amoeba. Prior to the press conference, the Governor was briefed by officials on steps being taken to respond to the situation, including a boil water notice, flushing the city’s water supply, testing environmental samples, and providing free cases of water to residents.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is working alongside the City of Lake Jackson, the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), the Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS), the Texas Military Department (TMD), the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to resolve the ongoing water issue.

“The health of the Lake Jackson community and the safety of their water supply is a top priority,” said Governor Abbott. “The state is working closely with local and federal officials to resolve this issue, provide resources to the region, and ensure the City of Lake Jackson has safe, clean drinking water. Our hearts go out to the young Texan who lost his life and his family, and I ask my fellow Texans to join me in keeping him and his family in their thoughts and prayers. Residents should continue to heed the orders of local officials as we continue to monitor this situation and work to eradicate this deadly amoeba from the water supply.”

A Boil Water Notice is still in effect for the City of Lake Jackson. TCEQ is actively working with the city to conduct a free chlorine conversion, which changes the water system’s disinfectant from chloramine to chlorine. Along with extensive flushing, a free chlorine conversion will assist in bringing disinfectant residuals to satisfactory levels. Once the flushing and disinfecting process is complete, and the system’s chlorine residuals meet state and federal regulations, the boil water notice will be lifted. The CDC recommended precautions will remain in place until concern about the amoeba is resolved.

TDEM has established a water point of distribution (POD) for residents at the Lake Jackson Recreation Center at 91 Lake Road. Residents can pick up a case of free water bottles everyday from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. TFS and TMD will be on site in support of POD operations. Additional trucks of water will be staged at the Westheimer Armory and TDEM Lufkin Warehouse and will move to the POD as needed. The state has already processed 4,500 cars through the POD and have distributed 6,500 cases of water.

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