November 29, 2022

Bellaire’s Response to Houston’s Boil Water Notice

The City of Bellaire first heard about Houston’s boil water notice at the same time everyone else did, when local media began reporting on it just before 8:00 p.m. Sunday.  We never received any notice directly from Houston, as one would have expected.  Turns out they attempted to notify us by e-mail around 7:00 p.m., but sent it to an outdated address (which we’ve since corrected).  At that late hour, however, and so close to when we got word anyway through the media, it really wouldn’t have made any difference in our response.

Under regional subsidence regulations we’re limited to drawing only half our water supply from our groundwater wells.  For the other half we purchase surface water from the City of Houston, as numerous other municipalities and water districts do.  Upon learning of Houston’s boil water notice, Bellaire Public Works immediately began isolating our water system by shutting off the flow of surface water from Houston and switching over exclusively to groundwater.

Out of an abundance of caution, we went ahead and issued our own boil water notice, too.  Since we had been taking water from Houston all day and couldn’t rule out the possibility some of it may have been affected, it was the right call.  Always better to err on the side of public health and safety.

That said, be assured we never had any reason to believe our water supply was actually contaminated.  At no time during the event did Bellaire’s system pressures drop below required levels, and testing performed Sunday and yesterday all came back within acceptable water quality parameters.  Yesterday evening after further investigation we determined our notice, which again had been issued as a precaution, could safely be lifted and we promptly did so.

City staff in Public Works and the City Manager’s Office did a great job in their handling of this situation.  Still, they recognize there may be some areas for improvement and will be reviewing the response for any learnings they can take from it.  Bellaire water customers may contact Public Works at (713) 662-8170 or by e-mail at with any questions.