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Odessa planning to test water samples before lifting boil water notice

While testing the water is something Odessa does often, it is especially important after all the work done to repair the water line this week.

ODESSA, Texas — Odessa is still under a boil water notice, but it could soon be coming to an end, depending on what the results of the tested water samples bring.

According to the Odessa Public Works Director, Tom Kerr, the city still needs to test water samples once the repairs have been made to make sure that there aren't any harmful bacteria that could make someone sick still in the water supply.

"When we treat water, it is to make sure that there is no live bacteria or pathogens in the water that might make a person ill," Kerr said. "And so what we'll be testing for is to make sure that the chlorine disinfection we do, normally we're using chloramines, that that will get rid of those microorganisms or bacteria."

Kerr said that the plan is to test water samples Thursday morning. It's a process the city does all the time.

"It’s a very common practice," Kerr said. "We actually run these tests, about 90 of these tests, every month to confirm our water is clean. It’s not an uncommon practice. Once we can demonstrate that the system is back in operating condition and the water is safe to drink, then we can turn the people loose."

So what does testing look like? It's a process that will take about 24 hours to get the results.

"They're taken to a lab," Kerr said. "The lab is certified. It is a city lab, but it’s completely certified and they meet our standards. So they set the samples up such that they might grow bacteria if bacteria existed in the water, and so that takes about 24 hours to see if that does happen."

It's only if the test results come back negative for any harmful bacteria that Odessa will give its residents the all clear to use their water without boiling it.

"If everything comes out negative with the results so that we don’t have any bacteria in the water, then we will be able to turn people loose to drink the water without boiling the water," Kerr said.

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