Two out of Lufkin’s three water plants are fully online and the other is operating on backup power, while four of the city’s nine wells are operational — mostly on generator power, according to a press release from Jessica Pebsworth, communications director for the city of Lufkin.
Oncor is working on the other five and have identified the problems, the release states. With those four water wells, almost all of the city’s ground storage tanks are full.
“Now that we have water in there, we’re going to start pushing it into our elevated tanks so people should start seeing some water,” Pebsworth said.
“The unknown, however, is how many leaks are still out there. That is why it is imperative that people continue to check their homes and businesses — both inside and out — for water leaks,” she said. “If you locate one and are unable to turn off your water meter, call us at 633-0356 and we will send someone to help you as quickly as possible.”
The city expects to be inundated with calls this evening and into the morning hours for water-leak assistance and has established a 24-hour call center staffed by city employees to take calls and expedite leak-assistance when necessary. It also has a 24-hour water-leak task force that will go out and address those issues. That call center and task force starts at 8 tonight and will be in place through 8 a.m. Saturday.
At this time, the city is unaware of any main line leaks, though it has had employees checking around the clock. Anyone who sees what they believe to be a main-line leak is urged to report it immediately.
It is also going to be “extremely important” that citizens conserve water until power is fully restored to the city’s water system, the release states.
“If you left faucets open to prevent a freeze, make sure you turn them off,” Pebsworth said, adding that it's OK to drip them overnight. “Please wait to wash clothes or other heavy water-use activities if possible. Take short showers and don’t leave the water running while brushing your teeth. We know these are simple things, but if we all work together, we can prevent another supply depletion.”
And Lufkin is still under a boil-water notice.
“We realize it is difficult to boil water without power,” Pebsworth said. “That is why we will continue to have water drives as supply allows. Today’s drives were coordinated through Brookshire Brothers. The city and county have both put in requests from the state for water to be sent to our area. We don’t know if or when that need will be met, but we will keep you aware of water-drive opportunities as they arise.”