The shelves in the bottled water section of a Walmart in Corpus Christi were nearly empty on the morning of Dec. 15, 2016. City officials announced a ban on using the city’s water the evening before due to a chemical making its way into the supply. Credit: Courtesy / Shalonn Simmons

Residents in Corpus Christi were caught by surprise Wednesday evening as City officials announced a ban on using the city’s water after a chemical made its way into the supply, contaminating the water.

The announcement was made late Wednesday by the city. Thursday morning, a city official confirmed the contamination is from one chemical, Indulin AA86, according to a Corpus Christi Caller-Times report. Officials believe there’s anywhere from three to 24 gallons of the chemical in the water supply, the newspaper reported.

A Wednesday release from the City attributes the contamination to “a recent back-flow incident in the industrial district.”

“In an abundance of caution and until we can investigate further and have the water tested, avoid all contact with the tap water,” the release state.

In response to the situation, several local school districts cancelled classes Thursday.

The Caller-Times also reported from the scene of a local grocery store that had sold out of bottled water. Crowds of people were waiting for a new shipment to arrive by truck.

Three area members of the Legislature – State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) and State Reps. Abel Herrero (D-Robstown) and Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) – said Thursday morning that they were monitoring the situation alongside the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Governor’s Office, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

“Public safety is our top priority and we are committed to ensuring that our residents have access to a safe supply of water,” the lawmakers said in the joint statement. “Please be vigilant of all public notices and discontinue tap water usage citywide until further notice.”

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Eleanor Dearman

Eleanor Dearman is an investigative fellow for The Texas Tribune and a journalism senior at The University of Texas at Austin. She has also interned for the San Antonio Express-News in its Austin bureau...