Much of Houston remains under boil-water notice as crews repair broken water main that supplies about half of the city

A major water main that provides half of Houston's water supply burst while repairs were being made, causing public school closures.

Posted: Feb 28, 2020 6:52 AM
Updated: Feb 28, 2020 2:45 PM

Hundreds of schools and businesses in Houston remained closed Friday as crews attempt to repair a water main that provides up to half of the city's water.

A day after the 8-foot diameter water main pipe burst in east Houston, much of the city remains under a boil-water notice and restaurants without water were ordered to cease operations immediately by the city's health department.

On Thursday, firefighters in boats and high-water vehicles rescued at least three drivers when water spewing from the broken main submerged some freeways and streets in east Houston, the fire department said.

Water flowed nearly two miles away, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement that a contractor 'was doing exploratory work' for a city water line project on Thursday when soil was moved from the line and the line burst. Blaming aging infrastructure for the incident, Turner said the water main was 35 years old.

It's unclear how long the city will be under the boil water notice, but Turner said the repairs will probably continue through the weekend.

The University of Houston canceled classes Friday and was distributing water to residents on campus due to the water outage, the university said in a series of tweets.

Free bottled water was available to travelers near water fountains that were turned off at Houston's two airports, the Houston Airport System tweeted.

Emergency rooms at area hospitals were open but outpatient clinics were closed, and non-emergency appointments were being rescheduled, CNN affiliate KPRC reported.

The water main broke near Fidelity and North Carolina streets and 'water flowed to 610 South/Ship Channel Bridge' about two miles south of the break, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

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