Residents in stage 5 restrictions as parts delay fix to Marble Falls water plant



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Connie Swinney/The Highlander
Flood waters on Oct. 16 damaged the Marble Falls water plant, prompting city officials to enact stage 5 water use restrictions and a boil water notice.




Editor's Note: As of noon on Saturday, Oct. 20, the city of Marble Falls has rescinded the public boil water notice.

Connie Swinney •
Staff Writer •

About 72 hours after flooding, Marble Falls city officials have lifted recommended limits on showering and washing dishes after crews repaired the city's sewer plant. However, as of Oct. 19 residents remained in mandatory stage 5 water restrictions and a boil water notice as workers waited for parts for the city's flood-damaged water plant.

On Oct. 16, flood waters from the Llano River rushed into the Highland Lakes submerging lakeside homes and damaging private property as well as some public roadways and city infrastructure.

The event was also marked by temporary evacuations due to concerns about swift water, flooded low-water crossings and low-lying areas.

The city's water plant on Lake Marble Falls sustained damage to its raw water intake system, which runs on electricity.

“Probably the magnitude of the water from the water and or debris,” Marble Falls City Secretary Christina McDonald said. “It prohibited our ability to treat water fast enough for our residents to consume.”

As soon as crews recognized the issue, repairs got underway.

“We issued the boil water notice once we realized we could not get it repaired right away,” McDonald said. Samples were sent for testing.

A stage 5 water restriction notice soon followed, which required residents to discontinue all nonessential use of water.

According to the city of Marble Falls, the following uses of water are prohibited:

• Use of water to wash any motor vehicle, motorbike, boat, trailer, airplane or other vehicle is absolutely prohibited, except in the immediate interest of public health, safety and welfare;

• The filling, refilling, or adding of water to swimming pools, wading pools, and jacuzzi-type pools is prohibited;

• Operation of any ornamental fountain or pond for aesthetic or scenic purposes is prohibited except where necessary to support aquatic life or where such fountains or ponds are equipped with a recirculation system;

• Use of water from hydrants shall be limited to firefighting and activities necessary to maintain public health, safety and welfare only;

• All restaurants are prohibited from serving water to patrons except upon request of the patron;

• No application for new, additional, expanded, or increased-in-size water service connections, meters, service lines, pipeline extensions, mains, or water service facilities of any kind shall be approved, and time limits for approval of such applications are hereby suspended for such time as this drought response stage or a higher-numbered stage shall be in effect;

    • Washing sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts, or other hard-surfaced areas;

    • Washimg buildings or structures for purposes other than immediate fire protection;

    • Use of water for dust control;

    • Flushing gutters or permitting water to run or accumulate in any gutter or street;

    • Failure to repair a controllable leak within a reasonable period after having been given notice directing the repair of such leak.

      “We're receiving calls from people asking if they can take showers. It's fine to shower and do laundry now,” McDonald said. “The wastewater plant is 100 percent operational.

      “Once (the water plant is) operating like it should, we can (enact) a lower stage,” she said. “Our public works department are going to fix it as soon as they receive the parts.”

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