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Today Austin is on their fourth day of a boil order due to the excessive amounts of rain fall and flooding. While the rain has given much needed relief to areas suffering from drought it is doing a number on water treatment plants as they process the water to go to businesses and homes.

The increased rain has muddied the waters bringing more silt and larger loads of “particles” that are more difficult to break down making the water harder to treat and potentially allowing bacteria into the water supply. This is something that can happen in any area experiencing higher than normal rainfall and precautions should always be in place. Adding extra purification measures to your drinking water is a vital step for health.

“Turbidity is a measure of how many particles are in water — in this case, silt from floodwaters from the Llano River that muddied water sources in the Colorado River last week.

The particles by themselves are not unsafe to consume, said Lynn Katz, a University of Texas professor and director of the Center for Water and the Environment. But bacteria, viruses and parasites can attach themselves to the particles and interfere with the plant’s disinfection process, she said. Giardia and cryptosporidium are the most likely to make it into the water supply because these aren’t killed in the chlorination process, she said. Drinking these parasites could cause gastrointestinal illnesses, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, experts said.”

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