Residents deal with no water, as city works to restore service to portions of west side
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Copperas Cove residents were in Stage 4B water restrictions starting Saturday, Feb. 20, due to loss of water pressure in the Mountain Top Pressure Plane, which caused 1,200 water customers to lose service.
On Monday evening, those restrictions were lifted.
The city issued a boil water notice last Wednesday for residents who live up the hill, whose water is provided using the Mountain Top Pressure Plane, prior to the complete loss of pressure that resulted in residents not having any water. This included all of Skyline Dr. and the following connecting streets: Sun Point Cr., White Mesa Cir., Wild Horse Cir., Sun Temple Cir., Sun Down Ln, Grace Louis Cir., Lois Cir., Homer Cir., the 2000 and 3000 Blocks of Veterans Ave., Babb St., Mountain Ave., Josie Cir., 2200 and 2300 Blocks of Terrace Dr., Post Oak Ave., Crescent Dr., Live Oak Dr., Meadow Ln., Liberty St., Craig St., Rhonda Lee St., Stewart St., the 3000 Block of Pecan Cove Dr., Sabrina Ln., K Star Dr., Potter Dr. and the 2800 and 2900 Block of Ogletree Pass. The boil notice will remain in place even after water is restored.
Several factors contributed to the loss of pressure, including a reduced water supply coming in from the city’s water provider, Bell County WCID #1, which in turn decreased volume and pressure in the main lines, as well as the topography of the city which requires water to be ‘pushed up’ to the Mountain Top Storage Tank by pressure.
There was also a transmission pump failure earlier in the week requiring equipment to be shipped in order to repair the pump and storage tanks froze from the outside due to power outages, according to a press release from the city.
The press release said that the city’s other pressure planes, the Central and Rattlesnake Pressure Planes, were holding adequate capacity and pressure, explaining why some residents had water while others did not.
The city implemented Stage 2 of water restrictions on February 17, which discontinued the flushing of water mains, irrigation of public landscaped areas and limited residents to specific watering days for using sprinkler systems, washing vehicles and filling or refilling pools, along with washing down outdoor surfaces such as sidewalks and driveways. Restaurants were also prohibited from serving water except upon request of the patron.
However, it wasn’t enough to get water flowing up and replenishing the supply.
On Saturday, the city implemented Stage 4B Water Restrictions, which included all of the preivous restrictions, and limited residnets to use water only for drinking and for hygiene use, and that laundromats and car washes cease operation. Restaurants, salons, convenience stores and other commercial entities are to use water for hygiene only and use bottled water for drinking water. On Saturday and Sunday, the city had begun seeing increased pressure build and the release of air occur with customers seeing the return of water flow, according to a press release issued Sunday.
To assist residents who were without running water, the city established a self-service water filling station in the front parking lot of the Library, using a water hose hooked up to the fire station next door, for residents to use to fill up any containers. The VFW Post #8577 also opened up their own water filling station on Friday, with volunteers from the Copperas Cove Law Enforcement Explorers Program assisting residents in filling their containers. The LEEP volunteers estimated that they had filled 238 gallons on Saturday alone, before 3:30 p.m.
Tamai Myazoe, who lives on Rhonda Lee Street, brought two 5-gallon plastic jugs to fill up with water. Saturday marked the fourth or fifth day of having no water, she said.
Myazoe said that her family was prepared for the storm in terms of food and having drinking water, but the water collected from the VFW would be used for flushing her toilets. She said she hadn’t been prepared to lose electricity on top of losing her water.
She was glad to be able to fill up containers at the VFW.
“It means a lot because four or five days of not having water- we used to take water for granted, but now we know not to,” Myazoe said.
On Sunday afternoon, the city began setting up distribution points for bottled water provided by FEMA for residents of the Mountain Top Pressure Plane only. City staff and volunteers manned five locations to distribute one case of water per residence. The locations included the VFW parking lot, the intersection of Veterans Avenue and Babb Street, the intersection of Veterans Avenue and Freedom Lane, the intersection of Freedom Lane and Buckboard Trail and the intersection of Urbantke Lane and S. 23rd St. The remaining cases were taken back to the Civic Center, 1206 W Avenue B, where affected residents can stop by this week between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily to request a case for their family.
The city also requested and received two Water Buffaloes from Fort Hood which were filled with potable water and staged at Highland Park (1203 Craig St) and at the intersection of Freedom Lane and Buckboard Trail for residents to fill their own containers. These Water Buffaloes will be at these two locations daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until services are restored, according to a press release issued by the city late Sunday evening.
Updates are being posted on the city’s Facebook page as well as on the city’s website: www.copperascovetx.gov.
Anyone with concerns is advised to contact Kevin Keller, Public Relations Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 547-422; Scott Osburn, Public Works Director, at email@example.com or (254) 547-0751; or Corey Chambers, Water Distribution Superintendent, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 547-2416.