SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - San Augustine County officials have declared the county to be in a state of emergency following a major water main break which has severely crippled the local water supply. They say the state has told them that they must use any local resources first to address the water problem before the state can step in to help.
"Right now, our main goal is just to make sure that our county residents are aware of all of the situation, are receiving all of the boil notices, and making sure that they have clean water," said San Augustine County Project Manager, Brittney Johnson.
A temporary patch has been made to the broken line and treated water has begun flowing slowly through it.
"Well, of course it's an inconvenience, but it's one of those things you just have to work through," said Johnson.
A boil water notice issued this week remains in effect for customers served by City of San Augustine Water which includes San Augustine Rural Water and Bland Lake Rural Water.
- Bring water to a rolling boil for three minutes.
- Allow water to cool before using.
Store cooled water, boiled water or bottled water for:
- Brushing teeth
- Preparing food and baby formula
- Making ice
Even though City of San Augustine water is not approved for drinking unless boiled, it has been treated and it is approved for bathing and washing clothes.
"We're doing without, that's what we're doing," said San Augustine resident, Julia Wade.
Meanwhile, county officials have purchased bottled drinking water to distribute to San Augustine area residents, who turned out in large numbers Friday to take advantage of the stopgap measure.
"Well I'm just glad we can because you know, we can't drink the water," said Wade. "This is wonderful for the county and the city to go together. And, these people volunteering to come out and give us water so we can have water to drink."
Residents must provide their name and address in order to receive two cases of water per vehicle, which is the equivalent of six gallons of water per family.
"If there is a crisis in the community, we need to be there to aid and support and do everything we can," said Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church pastor, Clois Rodgers.
The first delivery is being distributed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the county fairgrounds.
County commissioners are 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.
The line break affects 1,804 households and 7,217 residents, including the entire city of San Augustine, plus, nursing home and hospital patients.
Workers expect a permanent fix to be in place sometime next week, perhaps as early as Monday or Tuesday.