WHITEHOUSE, Texas — Many Whitehouse residents are seeing their water restored in their homes since the winter storm disrupted water and power supply.
"I had my first shower this morning and I was thrilled to death," Vicki Hawkins, Whitehouse resident, said. "We first lost power in the wee hours of the morning. It was first out for 12 hours and then the water went off so we were without water up until yesterday."
Hawkins and many other residents say they were without water for nearly a week.
For days the City of Whitehouse crews have been working to restore water into homes.
"We have our crews working around the clock. and they have been since we starting seeing some snow and ice on the ground last week," Leslie Black, Whitehouse city manager, said. "They continue to work around the clock for our homeowner needs or any needs of our system."
Black says a couple of days ago, the City was able to get operations back to six of their water wells pumping water back into their storage systems.
"We were able to fill up overnight and yesterday some of our homes starting to see some water availability, we're excited about that," Black said.
However, due to the demand for water, leaks in pipes and water main breaks the City is now dealing with water capacity issues.
A statement from the City of Whitehouse:
Around 10 a.m. we had a 12-inch water main break. This break impacted our system in two ways. First, we had to shut down the operation of one of our booster pumps to relieve pressure on a nearby valve and to ensure the safety of our crews. This also meant that we required a large amount of water to refill and recharge this line putting us further behind in keeping up with demand.
The main computerized controls of our water system also suffered significant damage during and after the storm. We have an antenna located on top of one of our water towers that had to be replaced and new cabling that had to be run down the length of the tower. As this system was repaired yesterday and through today, we continued to experience failures in other linked equipment and as a result of electrical fluctuations.
Other operational updates:
- We are sourcing water from the City of Tyler.
- We have brought in additional crews to ensure swift responses to any main breaks or leaks.
- Flushing through fire hydrants has been significantly reduced but must continue to prevent damage and to improve water quality.
- The City Hall awning damaged by the storm has been removed allowing safe operations at the City drive-through beginning tomorrow, February 23.
- Trash services resumed on the normal schedule today.
- We have contacted the local car washes to cease operations.
- Police, Fire and Administrative staff have been assisting by turning meters off and on so Public Works crews can focus on main breaks and leaks.
Black says the city is addressing many issues and plans to discuss many of them in Tuesday's city council meeting.
"We are going to give our City Council an update at their meeting tomorrow night and have them extend our disaster declaration to ensure that we can continue to use the great partners that have come through for us," she said. "Smith County has been a great help, the Texas Department of Emergency Management, we have relied on all those great resources, we will continue to rely on them over the next couple of weeks, but yes we do expect to discuss in a future city council meeting."
The City reminds residents service will be intermittent as their systems return online.
If you experience a leak in your home or you observe a water main break, you may call 903-510-7500, option 3. If it's an after-hours emergency call 903-245-8274.