Drinking Water Safety

The mission of the Food Safety program is to ensure that the food and drinking water provided on campus are safe for consumption. EHS staff is responsible for conducting food safety inspections of the permitted food vendors and kitchen facilities on campus, approving distribution of food on campus by staff, students, or vendors, and ensuring quality drinking water.

In what situations might EHS take a water sample for bacteriological testing?

  • Water main repairs due to a broken water main
  • New installation or repair of outdoor water lines
  • Suspected cross-connections
  • Indoor water quality complaints
  • Other situations as appropriate

What are the procedures for?

Water Main Repairs (Outdoors):

If a water main breaks on campus, Facilities/Utilities will notify EHS immediately and let EHS know when a sample may be taken after the pipe/parts have been sprayed/swabbed with disinfectant (1% hypochlorite) and flushed per AWWA Standard C651-14 (Disinfecting Water Mains).

Facilities/Utilities will make arrangements to flush line. Flushing should be conducted at the appropriate fire hydrant(s) between the main break and the buildings served. Flushing may also be necessary in the interior of the building.

EHS will check chlorine levels (< 4.0 ppm) and take a sample to a lab (TDSHS or LCRA) for bacteriological testing.

New Installation:

New lines should be disinfected and flushed per AWWA C651-14. Utilities will notify EHS to determine if water samples should be taken.

Suspected Cross Connections:

Facilities/Utilities will notify EHS and samples will be taken to lab.

Water Line Repairs (Indoors):

If a water line breaks indoors, bacteriological water samples will not normally be taken unless it is suspected that the line repair may have contaminated the building water supply. For example, a line break in a bathroom. Facilities will be responsible for notifying EHS.

Low Water Pressure:

If low water pressure (< 20 psi) exists in a building, Facilities will notify EHS. EHS will make a determination if water testing is warranted.

Building Water Turned Off:

If the water is turned off to a building for more than 24 hours, Facilities will notify EHS. EHS will make a determination if water testing is warranted.

Indoor Water Quality Complaints:

If a water quality complaint comes into EHS, EHS will investigate to determine if bacteriological testing is warranted. If sampling is warranted, EHS will immediately take the sample to the Texas DSHS lab for testing.

What about drinking water notices?

As a best practice, drinking water from buildings that is being tested should not be consumed until satisfactory testing results have returned from the laboratory. Drinking Water notices will be mandatory in health sensitive buildings such as the Day Care centers, UT Elementary and University Health Services. As appropriate, EHS will post signs at drinking water fountains and break rooms indicating that water should not be consumed. In buildings with multiple water supply lines, EHS will work with Facilities to determine what building sections will be covered by the outage. If notices are posted, Facilities will notify building managers and occupants.

What if testing shows a problem?

If water test results come back positive, EHS will immediately notify Facilities or Utilities. EHS will immediately post signs at drinking water fountains and break rooms indicating that water should not be consumed. Samples will be immediately retaken to the Texas DSHS lab.

Who should I call if I am concerned about my drinking water?

Contact Rachel LeBansky or Dennis Nolan at (512) 471-3511.

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