Area water systems continued to rebound Monday from last week’s severe winter weather that caused numerous water line and residential pipe breaks and compromised the area’s drinking water supply.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, Stage 5 water restrictions for the city of Killeen had been lifted, but a boil water notice remains in effect for all properties located in Killeen.
“The City had been in Stage 5 restrictions since February 17 because of extremely low water levels across the system,” City Spokeswoman Hilary Shine said in a press release late Monday. “Water levels have stabilized, and all normal indoor and outdoor uses are permitted.”
All water should be boiled prior to consumption under the boil water notice which is still in effect.
“Food and water was distributed this morning at 10 a.m. and supply exhausted at 11 a.m.,” Shine said in an email. “It was at Killeen Community Center. We’ve exhausted the limited supply of provisions. If more are received, we will announce distribution.”
The City of Killeen is operating three water filling locations for residents: at Killeen Water & Sewer, at 805 W. Jasper Drive, which first opened Thursday, the Community Center Complex Ball Fields, at 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd., and Haynes Elementary School at 3309 W. Canadian River Loop.
All three were open Monday, with city employees on hand to help residents fill containers they brought from home with water.
Shine said all three water stations would remain open through Friday, with the same hours, but the Jasper Road Station would be moved to the Special Events Center at 3301 South W. S. Young Drive.
As Central Texas cities struggled with low water levels and boil notices, civic leaders requested specific support from Fort Hood on Sunday.
The post sent out 20 of what are commonly referred to as “water buffalos.” The water storage units can store about 400 gallons of fresh water each, and communities will be able to use them until clean water is restored in affected areas. Central Texas communities receiving them include Belton, Bell County, Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, Killeen and Temple.
“The commanding general swiftly approved this support to civil authorities after legal reviews were complete. Within hours of the support requests, our soldiers were rolling to local cities with the 400 gallon ‘Water Buffalo’ trailers,” said Col. Myles B. Caggins III, III Corps and Fort Hood senior spokesman.
The III Corps and Fort Hood Facebook page posted on Monday that Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works began repais on broken hot water lines affecting seven barracks within the 87000 Block on the installation. This major repair effort will shut off the heat and hot water in all seven barracks, which are capable of housing approximately 900 single soldiers. DPW officials anticipate the permanent repairs will take 72 to 96 hours to complete. This will not affect electrical power or drinking water.
As of 3:45 p.m., Harker Heights officials reported the city’s water system was improving, although it still may be several days before a boil-water order is lifted.
“Our water system remains stable at this time and city crews have begun the disinfection process needed for the City to lift the boil water notice,” said the midafternoon post on the city’s website. “The City continues to remain under a boil water notice. Given the steps in the process, best case for lifting the boil water notice will be Saturday, Feb. 27. If there are any issues in the disinfecting process this date could be pushed out.”
Residents are asked to continue to boil water or use bottled water for consumption, as well as to continue to conserve water.
“Limited use of washing machines is allowable, but please no heavy usage, washing of vehicles or filling of pools,” the release said.
Laundromats were allowed to reopen Monday morning, and if the system continues to remain stable, the city may permit car wash businesses to reopen on Wednesday, the release noted.
The city continued to operate a water-filling station at the VFW post on VFW Drive. A second station at the city’s Rec Center was not in operation as of midday Monday.
Mountain Top Pressure Plane “is slowly filling and coming back online,” according to a Facebook post from the City of Copperas Cove. Residents of the Mountain Top area must still boil their water, while other areas of the City on the lower planes are not required to boil. Officials said the entire city remains under Stage 4B water restrictions until further notice.
“Please continue to conserve water as you are able to help this process through so we can build pressure back up,” officials said.