LAKE JACKSON, Texas – In September, news broke that a brain-eating amoeba was responsible for the death of a 6-year-old Lake Jackson boy. Word of little Josiah McIntyre’s passing quickly spread around the world.
“I’m angry, upset, sad, heartbroken,” said McIntyre’s Mom, Maria Castillo.
McIntyre died September 8, just days after his trip to a Lake Jackson splash pad. According to health officials, a parasite, called naegleria fowleri, otherwise known as the brain-eating amoeba was in the water.
Evidence of the amoeba was later found in other parts of Lake Jackson’s water supply.
Cities testing for brain-eating amoeba
Some other cities are now testing their water for this same amoeba, but many are not.
Envirodyne Laboratories is running some of those tests out of their lab in the Alief-area. Each test costs $600 and it covers five gallons of water.
They’ve tested for Alvin, Missouri City, and Rosenberg. Each has tested negative.
The city of Rosenberg pulled water samples on Monday, September 28 and they sent them to an independent lab to test for n. fowleri. KPRC 2 Investigates received those results after filing a Texas Public Information Act Request.
“We have 25,000 citizens in Alvin, and it’s very important we make sure our citizens are safe,” said Brandon Moody, director of Public Works in Alvin.
The City of Alvin took a sample of water from 1080 West Snyder on October 7.
Two water samples were taken at the City of Missouri City Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant by a third party laboratory on Thursday, October 1.
You would think, in the aftermath of McIntrye’s death, other municipalities would be scrambling to test their water as well. They’re not.
Most districts not testing water for amoeba
We contacted 80 municipalities and cities in Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend, Brazoria and Waller counties. An overwhelming majority of the water systems are not being tested for the amoeba, including the city of Houston.
City of Houston
“I know what we do meets all the state and federal standards and our water is safe to consume,” said Yvonne Forrest, director of Houston Water.
Forrest said around-the-clock chlorine monitoring and more generalized bacteria testing eliminates the need to specifically test for the brain-eating amoeba.
That’s in line with industry standards, standards that Lake Jackson did not meet and it cost McIntyre his life.
The city of Lake Jackson has taken responsibility for the chlorine levels. Assistant City Manager Modesto Mundo said the bacteria was able to thrive, because of the low chlorine levels in the town’s water supply.
State regulators said the levels are now where they should be.
How you can check your water quality
You can check your community’s water supply by going to a state website. You can also search for violations.