ODESSA, Texas — The Ector County Utility District and the city of Odessa have both sent in water samples to be tested before the boil water notice can be lifted. It will take roughly 24 hours before the city and ECUD see the results.
This leaves some to wonder why these two entities need to submit separate samples. This is because each have their own system that they use.
"We have a completely separate system," Tommy Ervin, ECUD's president of the board of directors said. "Both of our systems are separated by a backflow device called an RPZ, and when it gets on our side of the RPZ, we are responsible for that water. We have our own potable water number, and we are responsible for it."
This means that samples from the city and ECUD show two different test results.
"It’s possible for the test to come back one of us negative and one of us positive," Ervin said. "It’s always possible. We’re two completely separate systems just like it would be ECUD and Houston, Texas. We’re separate."
Not only that, but individual areas within the water system can yield different results.
"We have a good enough system out here, so far, that we can isolate particular areas and get that bacteria out of our system," Ervin said. "It might take a few hours, but we can make it happen. Then we turn right around, and we have to do some more tests, and we'll probably test our whole system again."
If even one spot within the city shows bacteria, depending on where the bacteria was found, the boil water notice will remain in effect for either the city of Odessa or ECUD.
"Whenever you have a small portion of your city or municipality out here, the ECUD system, if it tests positive from one spot, the whole system is still under a boil water notice," Ervin said.
Ervin hopes that once the dust settles, the city of Odessa and ECUD can look back and determine what worked in getting things fixed and what could still use some work. That way they can make adjustments as needed in the event that something similar happens again in the future.