BEAUMONT - In the city of Beaumont, the question most crucial to almost everyone? Drinkable water. When will it be back? It makes the world turn, so to speak.
Now, 12 News has learned the process may be further along than you know. Is it going to take six weeks? 12 News set out to verify if that is the case with an engineer familiar with Beaumont's water supply.
He believes we are in the last stages of having drinking water from the tap back in play.
Lamar University Environmental Engineering Director Dr. Jerry Lin is not recommending using Beaumont water as drinking water at this time.
He has done samples in his own lab both Wednesday and Thursday morning showing the water does not have major contaminants in it. Lin said no heavy metals were found. No harmful organic contaminants were detected.
"Typically you observe the metals and also the organic compounds. I do not see any major contaminants that are existing so far," Lin said.
While Dr. Lin's lab is generally about as good as the one operated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, it is not certified by the state.
Lin said chlorine is now being added to the system, and he believes as soon as state regulators can approve the water the supply will be available.
That is consistent with what the city released Thursday morning. The TCEQ could approve human consumption within 24 hours of seeing the water is safe.
"We are very close to the last, as far as I can tell," said Lin.
"I personally have a lot of interaction with the city, and I trust these guys to be able to get our water system back online."
Remember, drinking water is essentially also a legal term.
Beaumont has reported a stable pressure of 70 PSI at its plant. City engineers need to stabilize water pressure in several locations to satisfy state regulations for legally-acceptable drinking water.
Several preliminary tests are still being conducted.
But will it take weeks to get the water ready? We've verified that: No. As it looks right now, barring unforeseen circumstances, it should not take weeks but rather days.
First, fire hydrants all over Beaumont will be used to flush the system. Dr. Lin said Beaumont needs 15 million gallons of water a day to meet the demands of residents. That appears to be days away, as opposed to several weeks.
If you have a question you would like verified, contact us. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.