News Digest - February 7, 2022

  • The CDC is expanding the system that detects coronavirus in wastewater to better predict surges and declines of the virus and to detect other pathogens and outbreaks. The agency provided money for utilities across the country to collect sewage samples and has now made this data public on its website so that consumers can compare data across states. The CDC is currently working on expanding the reach of the program.
  • Texas is set to receive more than $343 million to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells. The wells pose a serious risk to human and environmental health as they leak toxic chemicals, contaminating groundwater and emitting methane. Officials are estimating that there may be as many as 2 million abandoned wells, but finding the exact number requires more investigation as they were drilled long before states began keeping records of their locations.
  • A city-wide boil water notice was issued by Austin Water on Saturday night due to “error by operating staff” at Ullrich Water Treatment Plant. Austin Water gathered water samples to be tested on Monday, and once the results show no water quality issues the TCEQ will authorize lifting the boil water notice. They are estimating to receive authorization by the TCEQ to lift the notice by the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 8th.
  • This week's TWDB Drought Watch shows the first decrease in area of the state impacted by drought in 12 weeks. Conditions are expected to improve in Central and East Texas with increased rainfall.

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