Mayor Brandon Capetillo posted an update on the city’s water service this afternoon on the City of Baytown Facebook page.
Capetillo said the water treatment plant is fully operational and is currently producing and distributing water at max capacity which is 22 million gallons per day. He noted it is taking some time to get the water through the 450 miles of water line in the city to everyone.
In regard to water pressure, those living closer to Thompson Road in the Northwest part of the city will see better pressure first.
It will take the southeast areas of the city longer to pressurize to a useable pressure. As pressure builds up, Public Works has been inspecting the water mains and applying repairs where needed.
The city is asking residents with water meter leaks to report them to Public Works at 281-420-5300. Should a pipe burst, turn the water supply off immediately. The boil water notice also remains in effect until further notice.
City officials said they were able to put the Baytown Area Water Authority Water Treatment Plant back online Wednesday, sending water trickling back into homes and businesses of frustrated Baytonians.
The city began filling the plant’s storage tanks Wednesday afternoon. A gradual increase in water pressure should be seen by the early evening, depending on where customers resided, the city said.
City officials warned that air could still be in the lines and will need to be released. This meant some residents and businesses had to wait several more hours before the pressure would reach a usable level and return to normal.
Anyone experiencing a water leak is asked to call 281-420-5300. If anybody experienced busted pipes, they should turn off the water supply to their homes, city officials recommended.
As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, city officials unable to say at that time if and when service could return to normal.
“We are not prepared to say yes or no if the water is coming today,” Alice Jauregui, city spokeswoman, said. “We are just waiting on additional information before we can put a message out about when water will be coming in the near future.”
When pressed for an update, Jauregui said the city is “waiting for some issues to be resolved before we can put out an update.”
Jauregui said she was not able to be more specific at that time, citing issues were still being resolved.
Many Baytown residents vented their anger on the city’s Facebook threads about the water plant, saying the city had failed, had no plan, and complaining about costs of the water bills.
Shortly afterward, the city reported it was able to get the BAWA plant back online.
City updates on the water, electricity and the weather can be found on its website at www.baytown.org, on its Facebook site or through SwiftReach, the city’s mass notification system.
A boil water notice, issued for Baytown Tuesday, remains in effect despite the plant coming back online, Jauregui said.
Jauregui was asked when the boil water notice could be rescinded.
“That will take a little bit of time,” she said. “The test had to be sent off and (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) has to give us the nod to rescind it. That will be a process. That is not going to happen until after the water is up and running.”
Jauregui said even when the water comes back on, the boil water notice will still be in effect. She further recommended folks try and store as much water as possible.
“Try to get other water sources that is consumable if they can,” she said.
Boil water notices have also been reported in Highlands, Anahuac, Deer Park, La Porte, Winnie-Stowell, Pasadena, Houston and Katy.
When asked what happened at the BAWA plant to cause the outage, Jauregui said the best explanation was posted to the city’s Facebook site.
The post stated due to the “duration of unprecedented freezing temperatures, water treatment capacity was affected. Extremely low temperatures have caused multiple systems from pumps to chemical disinfection systems to freeze.”
The power was still up at the plant, according to the post, and the pumps and chemicals necessary to treat the water cannot function in the low temperatures, which were reported as low as 5 degrees according to weather.gov.
In Mont Belvieu, there were some concerns about the low water pressure Wednesday morning, according to Brian Ligon, Mont Belvieu spokesman.
“But, our public works crews were able to locate a line break and repair it,” Ligon said. “I’m happy to report that pressure in the system is returning to normal levels. We do not have any Mont Belvieu utility customers without water at this time and we do not have an active boil water notice.”