The public water supply in Corpus Christi, Texas, has been contaminated by a chemical used for asphalt and residents have been warned not to drink or even bathe with tap water.
Between 3 and 24 gallons of Indulin AA-86, an asphalt emulsifier, might have entered the city's water system, according to a City of Corpus Christie press release.
Ingestion of Indulin AA-86 can be “corrosive to the respiratory system,” according to its official Material Safety Data Sheet.
The chemical can also be corrosive to eyes and cause burns to the mouth, throat and stomach.
"Only bottled water should be used for all drinking, beverage and food preparation (including baby formula and juice), making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes or clothes, washing hands, and bathing until further notice," a news release from city officials said, reports USA Today.
"Boiling, freezing, filtering, adding chlorine or other disinfectants, or letting the water stand will not make the water safe," officials said.
The contamination is believed to have originated from near a Valero oil refinery in the city's industrial area.
“At this time, we believe this is a localized backflow issue from third-party operations in the area of Valero's asphalt terminal,” said Lillian Riojas, a spokeswoman from Valero, according to USA Today. “We do not believe this issue is being caused by Valero's Corpus Christi refineries.”
Although the Corpus Christi officials have warned residents not to use tap water, Riojas said Valero doesn't believe it is responsible for contamination.
“While the City continues to investigate this issue, we do not believe the City's water has been impacted,” Riojas said. “We believe this issue is isolated to a lateral industrial line. Valero is offering its resources to assist the City in isolating the issue and to help confirm this has not impacted the City's water supply."