San Augustine Co. to distribute water beginning Friday morning

SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - A state agency has denied a request from San Augustine County to tap into state water reserves in Lufkin.

The county made the request after a major pipe break for San Augustine area water customers.

County Judge Samye Johnson said the city and county will now be required to handle its water needs internally.

The county has purchased bottled water from the Brookshire Brothers warehouse. The first delivery will arrive at the county fairgrounds and be distributed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Water will be limited to two cases per vehicle.

Johnson said the county has qualified for a local state of disaster and commissioners began meeting at 6:45 p.m. to consider a declaration of emergency. This would open the county to additional resources from the state.

County commissioners were on standby to travel to Lufkin to haul the water. Volunteer fire departments are helping to bring water in from other sources to nursing homes just so toilets can be flushed.

Residents are advised to expect continued low pressure and some outages for a period of time.

Water Superintendent Chris Anding said crews worked from 5 p.m. until now on fixing the break of a 16-inch water line which broke Wednesday evening.

Mayor Leroy Hughes is working on bringing water in from an outside agency for emergency use.

Residents are advised to boil their water until further notice.

The line break affects 1,804 households and 7,217 residents, plus nursing home and hospital patients.

"This is the main water supply line for the whole city and it's coming straight from the water plant," Anding said. "Supplies water to our elevated storage tanks here in town, so it's a pretty major problem."

It could take at least a couple of days to restore pressure and water supplies to about 18 hundred households or more than 72 hundred people, including two rural water services.

The last city storage tank was significantly low this morning.

According to a Department of Public Safety spokesperson, District 9 Emergency Management Chair Lt. Roy Owens' decision was based on ample local supplies of water through grocery stores and other means.

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