Water might be coming back into area pipes Tuesday night, but boil water notices remain and water conservation is recommended.
On Feb. 16 at approximately 6:30 p.m., Taylor's municipal government announced that the Brazos River Authority successfully restored power to the water treatment plant. The plant lost power Monday night, Feb. 15, as electricity outages continued in the area either from weather damage or rolling blackouts related to this week's winter storm.
"You should start seeing the return of water over the next few hours beginning at the east side of the city and moving westward," said city staff. "It will take several hours for the entire city to see a return of water."
However, the city says that the water supply will be limited to only 1.5 million gallons for the near future. Citizens are asked please to conserve water as much as possible. Water pressure may go back down once the available water has been consumed.
"As we open the valves, we encourage residents to open faucets or sinks to release any air in the system. As the water returns, residents will see sputtering faucets and maybe discolored water," said city staff. "Once you have cleared the air from your lines, you can keep your faucets dripping to keep your pipes from freezing. Most people allow for 5-10 drips per minute."
Meanwhile, the East Williamson County Regional Water System (EWCRWS) is currently unable to operate due to the lack of power. As a result, the Brazos River Authority is implementing what is called a Stage 4 – Pro-rata Curtailment Condition of its Drought Contingency Plan at Lake Granger.
"This will remain in effect until EWCRWS is back to an operational state," said city staff. "It will be critical to minimize water usage as operations are restored in an effort to prevent further infrastructure issues."
On Monday evening, the Brazos River Authority announced that there was a prolonged power outage at its water treatment plant. Residents in Taylor and surrounding areas were reporting little to no water pressure as a result. Boil water notices are in effect for anyone who does have water or when water returns.
"The Brazos River Authority is working to restore power," said the Authority, "but until further notice, all city water customers must boil their water prior to consumption. ERCOT is working to return power as soon as possible."
Thrall and Granger residents were in the same situation.
"As of 4:43 a.m. (Tuesday, Feb. 16), the city of Thrall will be losing water pressure due to the supply line not providing water. When the water comes back on a boil water notice will be in place," said the Thrall Police Department via its Facebook page. "The city is working to correct this issue."
“Our pumps that bring the water from our wells into our storage tower run on electricity. Without electricity, we have exhausted our water storage supply,” said Mayor Trevor Cheatham of Granger. “Unfortunately, no one has any real update on when ERCOT will be allowing power to be turned back on. I'm trying to do the best I can with the resources I have available.”
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issued the boil water notice to Taylor due to pressure below 20 psi. TCEQ recommends boiling water for drinking, washing hands and faces, brushing teeth and similar uses.
“Children, seniors, and persons with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria, and all customers should follow these directions,” said city staff. “To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes."
The city says when water is safe, public water system officials will notify customers.
At approximately 1:14 p.m. Tuesday, a power generator was reportedly on the way to the water treatment plant. Taylor’s municipal government was informed of the development by the Authority.
“The city's water supply is regulated by the Brazos River Authority (B-R-A), and the water treatment plant that controls our water is controlled with an electric sensor. When the power goes out, the sensor also goes out, so the plant can no longer regulate the water pressure or treat the water supply,” said Rydell. “While the B-R-A does have a generator, there are logistical challenges that are making it difficult to get the generator up and running.”
For questions in Taylor, contact utilities superintendent Anthony Paddock at 512-779-5412.