Many east Williamson County residents continue to wonder when water will finally flow back into their homes.
As of Feb. 19, boil water notices remained in effect as water pressure started to return to some businesses and residences. Many were still waiting for any water at all as full water pressure was estimated to return sometime later in the weekend.
City Manager Brian LaBorde in Taylor announced that the city began to receive water from BRA during the previous night. Higher water was reportedly in the low pressure plane with the hopes of water flowing to the high pressure plane later in the day.
“(BRA are) reporting really good flow out of their plant to the city of Taylor,” added Mayor Brandt Rydell, “and that should be enough to help us charge our system get it pressurized, but that’s not happening. We’re not seeing the effect here as we would have expected.”
Taylor staff believes that might be due to area pipe leaks and increased usage from people who now have water. Water conservation was encouraged.
“If you’re getting water, curtail your use,” said Rydell. “We need to get this system filled up for the good of the whole community.”
If there’s burst pipes, leaks or backed up sewage in buildings either with occupants or unoccupied, citizens are encouraged to report it immediately to the city’s utility maintenance at 512-352-3251, although the number will be forwarded to the police department after hours who will then contact workers.
Granger residents were facing similar troubles. Power outages halted pumps that pull water from wells into the city’s storage tower. As issues evolved, new parts were ordered and delivered from Dallas by Friday.
"Working on finishing up replacements of computer modules that operate the pumps. If you don't have normal water pressure, it is likely due to a leak," said Mayor Trevor Cheatheam. "We are monitoring water coming from the pumps and they are performing well. However, we are discovering leaks in numerous locations. So many, it is decreasing the water pressure for some and available water overall despite the pumps now working. For that reason, please refrain from normal water usage for the time being if you can."
At 5:59 p.m., Cheatheam asked Granger residents who had low or no water pressure to reply on a Facebook post.
Thrall typically relies on the same water system as Taylor. On Friday evening, the Thrall Police Department relayed a message from Mayor Troy Marx that Thrall was able to secure water from another water system that is now online.
"The line along Highway 79 is already starting to fill. Like everyone, we are battling frozen pipes to get the water into our treatment plant. Our goal is to fill tonight and start introducing water into the system tomorrow," said Marx. "When we start, we will need to bleed the fire hydrants to allow air to escape. This is not a waste of water but a necessity to keep air from breaking pipes.
"Once this happens we will begin to open secondary valves to homes. Our goal is to do this during the day so everyone will be able to inspect their pipes for leaks," continued Marx. "It would be good if you located your water shutoff now in the event of a leak. The process is not fast, but water is on the way. Please remember a boil water notice is in effect and water conservation until we can get the water system stabilized."
Manville Water Supply Corporation issued a boil water notice to its customers with running water and recommended conservation measures. The company serves areas south of Taylor such as Coupland, Norman Crossing and Cele.
“Service has been restored through-out the Manville system,” said the company in a statement Friday afternoon. “However, most customers will experience low pressure while the system is recovering from the outages. Please conserve and make sure to boil your water.”
Water distribution sites
On Friday evening, LaBorde announced that the city had arranged three distribution sites for drinking and non-potable water for Saturday, Feb. 20.
The Drinking Water Distribution Center at Fire Station #1, 200 Washburn St., will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or until supplies are depleted. Residents will be able to pick up a bag with six bottles of drinking water per vehicle. The city thanks the Salvation Army for helping to make this distribution site possible.
The Texas Beer Company will also be distributing bulk drinking water provided by the city at the brewery on 1331 West Second St. from noon to 5 p.m. Residents must bring their own containers and can fill up to 20 gallons per vehicle. The Texas Beer Company water distribution will be available until 5 p.m. this afternoon.
A third location will offer non-potable water in bulk at the Taylor Regional Park and Sports Complex, 210 Carlos G Parker Blvd., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or until the supply has been depleted. Residents must bring their own containers and can fill up to 20 gallons per vehicle. Water obtained from this site must be boiled if it's for consumption.
Earlier in the day, Chief Daniel Baum updated the city on other potential sources of potable water. Baum is the Taylor Fire Department chief and emergency management coordinator.
“Thus far, we have been unable to obtain water locally due to local suppliers being out of stock and unable to receive new deliveries until roadway conditions improve. The city of Taylor has requested water through the state’s emergency management system at both the county and state levels,” said city staff. “So far, we have not received any water from these sources. There are reports that FEMA is sending trucks of water to Texas, but the city cannot directly request resources from FEMA. Those resources are requested through state emergency management system, and we have submitted our request. The city has also reached out to the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, and at this time neither entity has water available for the city.”
The area’s water outages stem from winter storms that swept through the area last week. The storms were a catalyst to power outages either from weather damage or rolling blackouts authorized by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).