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Multiple agencies working to clear Texas town’s water supply of brain-eating amoeba

Gov. Greg Abbott, left, and Dennis Bonnen, right. (Jay Janner/Austin-American Stateman/TNS)

Multiple state and federal agencies are working to clear Lake Jackson’s water supply after a deadly amoeba was found to have killed a 6-year-old boy.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for Brazoria County on Sunday after the brain-eating organism called Naegleria Fowleri was found in the water supply.

“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,” Abbott said during a press conference at Brazosport College in Lake Jackson on Tuesday. “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.”

Lake Jackson is about 60 miles south of Houston, just off the Gulf Coast.

Officials have issued a boil water notice to area residents, and are flushing the city’s water supply, testing environmental samples, and providing free cases of water.

Among the agencies involved in the emergency to resolve the water issue are the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Texas A&M Forest Service, the Texas Military Department, the Department of State Health Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

According to officials, Lake Jackson’s water supply is currently undergoing 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,” a release from the governor’s office said. “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.”

Residents can pick up free cases of water at the Lake Jackson Recreation Center at 91 Lake Road between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. The state says it has already distributed 6,500 cases of water.


© 2020 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram