(CNN) — Residents of Corpus Christi, Texas, were coping Thursday with using only bottled water for everything from drinking to bathing after officials warned that “unknown” chemicals had possibly contaminated the city’s water supply.
The city of 324,000 on the Gulf of Mexico advised people to avoid using tap water following an incident in its industrial district. Corpus Christi issued a news release late Wednesday advising residents to avoid tap water in “an abundance of caution and until results can confirm water safety.”
The release said a “recent back-flow incident” in the industrial district possibly caused the contamination, but it did not name the industry or provide further details on what happened. The city stated it is working with local industry, state regulators and consultants to deal with the problem.
Corpus Christi advised residents to use only bottled water for normal activities including drinking, cooking, bathing and brushing teeth. The city warned that boiling, freezing, filtering or taking other actions would not make the water safe.
People reacted to the advisory on social media, with one person urging the city to provide bottled water to citizens, and another posting a photo of a bottle of water and dubbing it a “Corpus Christi shower.”
“They’re hoping to get it resolved within 24 hours,” said Zach Kastelic, who moved from Kansas City to Corpus Christi in September and is the partnership activation coordinator for the Corpus Christi Hooks baseball team, the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros.
“A lot of schools and businesses are closed today. They think it’s a petroleum-based chemical that got into the water system yesterday afternoon,” Kastelic told CNN Thursday morning.
“Many grocery stores sold out of water last night and early this morning but emergency shipments of water just arrived at some local H-E-B locations,” he added, referring to a Texas chain of grocery stores. “People (are) waiting in aisles with their grocery carts ready for them to put out the new water shipments.”