Texas city residents could drink tap water again on Saturday

ODESSA, Texas (AP) — Residents of the West Texas city of Odessa who have been without safe tap water this week amid scorching temperatures may be able to drink safely straight from the faucet as early as Saturday afternoon, city officials said Friday.

Samples from the Odessa area water utility pipes were sent off for testing Friday afternoon, said Odessa Public Works Director Thomas Kerr. If the test results come back clean, the city’s weeklong boil-water notice could be lifted by 1:30 p.m. Saturday, he said.

Temperatures approached 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) in Odessa daily this week as Texas and much of the United States faced extremely hot and humid conditions. And while the city typically sees hot weather in June, the timing of the break made dealing with this week’s heat more difficult.

The city said taps in 165,000 homes and businesses lost pressure or went completely dry after a 24-inch (61-centimeter) main broke Monday afternoon. Odessa’s water treatment plant was back online by about 8 a.m. Wednesday, but workers have conducted a “recharging” process since then, slowly adding water volume to the system to ensure there are no more leaks.

In the meantime, customers have relied on bottled water to consume and cook with, and boiling to disinfect whatever water came from their faucets.

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