News Feature | August 7, 2015

Worms Invade Texas Tap Water

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

A scene out of a horror movie struck Houston-area ratepayers last month. When they turned on their faucets, the water brought a stream of small, squirmy worms.

Residents in Old River-Winfree, a town of about 1,400 roughly 25 miles east of Houston, are served by a decades-old J&S Water Company facility, KHOU reported. In July, customers “began finding brown and red worms in their tap water,” the report said.

“The private company responsible blames the invasion on a power outage and broken equipment,” USA Today reported. The company has pointed to a broken chlorinator.

KHOU described an animated scene when residents discovered what was in the water:

If there's one thing that can get a whole neighborhood in the street in 100 degree heat, it's this: "That's worms! That is so worms!" said neighbor Tammy Early. "That's just gross. Oh my God, I'm freaking out right now." Tiny worms clogged Early's sprinkler and it was even worse for Tara Miles. "This water was coming out of the bathroom faucet," said Miles, holding up a bottle of water with several worms floating inside.

These residents were not alone. A group of around 30 from the Woodland Acres subdivision of Old River-Winfree brought samples containing worms to their water facility this month. “They all said the worms are flowing out with their tap water,” the report said.

The tiny invaders came in many colors. “There’s these red ones, there’s these black ones, almost look like tadpoles,” said Andrea Devault, per CBS Local.

The utility’s input: “J&S Water had a power outage over the weekend and had to flush the system, but the company claims it has not found worms in the equipment, so officials said the slithery creatures are from another source, such as pipes in the neighborhood,” Cox Media Group reported.

State and local government are on the case. State regulators are looking into it, and the city has made showers and free bottled water available to residents contending with worms.

For similar stories, visit Water Online’s Drinking Water Disinfection Solutions Center.