Cities throughout Angelina County are struggling to maintain water levels with today’s winter storm.
The city of Lufkin’s supply was depleted around 10 a.m., according to city manager Bruce Green. A water pump at a well in Zavalla broke and the water department is trying to fix it; broken pipes span the city of Diboll; and the power at the city of Huntington’s water wells is out again, each city’s respective Facebook pages state.
All cities have requested communities conserve water as they attempt to resolve their individual issues.
Lufkin’s supply is not affected by the city’s production, Green said. The city pulls water from all available sources and the water comes in to create necessary reserves, he said.
“The problem is that due to line leaks, breaks in lines and dripping all night by businesses and residents, the city’s water supply has been completely depleted,” he said.
City officials believe issues with water depletion lay primarily with major leaks and private homes and businesses, a press release from city communications director Jessica Pebsworth said.
The city of Lufkin can produce 17 million gallons of water even during high usage times like the summer, her release states. Even operating using backup power, the city should be able to produce 7 million gallons a day, which tells officials the issue is at private homes and businesses, her release states.
“We are continuing to pump water into the system, but due to these leaks at private homes and businesses, the system is unable to keep up with the demand.’’
The city needs locals help in identifying the main line issues. The water department has been working round the clock to identify those issues, according to the release
“Please help us identify these leaks so we can get our water levels back up and service restored,” she said. “If you locate a leak and have issues turning off your water meter, call our non-emergency number at 633-0356. We will send someone to help you turn it off as quickly as possible.”
Huntington’s water supply is nearly out, city manager Bill Stewart said. This problem is caused in part by, “Busted lines at and in people’s yards, houses and businesses,” Stewart said. “Also, people are running faucets and hydrants continuously, causing water level problems.”
The city’s power has been off and on for days and was off again around 10 a.m. with no indication of when power will be restored, it is waiting for Oncor to respond, Stewart said in a Facebook post.
Oncor has been responding to power-related issues county- and regionwide for two days. Lines and trees are down across Angelina County.
“Our generators pump water into the tanks, but we have to have electricity to pump the water from the tanks throughout the system to homes and businesses,” Stewart wrote in a Facebook post.
Two hundred meters are without water in Diboll, city manager Gerry Boren said. There are people with individual breaks on the lines as well as a six-inch break on the line, he said.
“We’re asking everyone to conserve water,” he said. “Don’t wash clothes, don’t turn your dishwasher on.”
The city is not far from the same situation Lufkin is in, he said. At this point they are purely reacting to the situation because this problem is so unprecedented, he said.
“When Houston and Dallas are struggling to upkeep their water supplies, what are smaller communities doing facing the same struggles?” he asked.
The Hudson Water Supply Corporation issued an alert at 11:30 a.m. saying nearly all local systems were experiencing low water pressure or had no water at all.
“We are asking our customers to minimize their usage and run water for essential tasks only,” the alert read. “If you have a leak we ask that you shut the water off at your water meter. The freezing temperatures have wreaked havoc on our system and we are working around the clock to keep our system running.”
Zavalla’s water pump at the well busted, the city stated in a Facebook post around 9 a.m. Though their water department was working on what issues they could, the weather made that difficult, the page stated.
Mayor Carlos Guzman could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning. Police chief Chris Wade said he did not know the status of the city's repairs.
The city’s water systems froze on Tuesday, according to a Lufkin Daily News story. Officials traveled to Jasper to pick up a part with hopes of the pump being made functional Wednesday morning. There were no updates on the city’s website or Facebook page at 11:30 a.m.