City experiences brief water outage


Area residents using Wills Point water woke up to a rude surprise Feb. 16, receiving word that the city had experienced a catastrophic failure at its main water pump station at Lake Tawakoni resulting in low to water pressure locally.

In subsequent robocalls and social media postings, the city explained "The city of Wills Point has experienced a catastrophic failure at the main water pump station at Lake Tawakoni, which feeds the city. City workers and crews from MVA have been working continuously, in efforts to restore service...We expect once the service is restored, a Boil Water Notice will be issued. Until the service is restored, we ask customers to practice extreme water conservation."

The water outtage had a domino effect locally, resulting in the cancellation of school for the Wills Point ISD and closing of several local businesses. Water was restored during the early afternoon hours Feb. 16 with a boil water notice in effect until early Feb. 17 when the Texas Commission on Enviromental Quality cleared the city’s water supply.

Mayor Mark Turner addressed the issues with the city’s water supply in a lengthy Facebook post following the completion of repairs and restoration of services stating:

“It's has been quite hectic the past 36+ hours. The main pump station located at Lake Tawakoni suffered a catastrophic failure in a connection joint of the main pipe. City crews worked diligently attempting to get it fixed to no avail and enlisted a subcontract crew (MVA) for assistance. MVA supplied an entire crew with parts and expertise and after repeated attempts could not get the pipe to remain joined when the main pump was engaged.

“The amount of pressure utilized to pump water, in huge volumes, from Lake Tawakoni to our water plant in Wills Point is astounding. Each time the pump would kick on, the immediate pressure would cause the joints to disengage.

“The initial problem was a leak and the surrounding ground was saturated. The ground acts as a supporting and constricting force on the pipes and assists in keeping them in place when the high pressure pumps kick on/off. However, the ground around this size/pressure of a leak was so saturated that it failed on multiple attempts to perform as expected.

“As every effort was being made, the water capacity within the city was steadily being diminished. The effort to get the pipe at the Lake Tawakoni pump station was abandoned and all effort during the night was placed on getting a temporary high pressure pump installed at the City Lake to allow water to be pulled and placed into the city water treatment plant.

“The city of Kaufman graciously provided us with a skid high pressure pump and city of Wills Point employees, MVA employees and Kaufman city employees worked throughout the night to get water flowing.

“As dawn began, the water inventory for the city was depleted and you most likely either had very little pressure/water or no water at all. As the wells at the Water Treatment Station began to fill, the necessary tests and treatments started being performed and in about two hours time we were able to start pumping from our clear wells to the water towers.

“The state of Texas dictates that a boil water notice be issued when the pressure falls below certain standards and this was done after city employees worked with state officials. Water pressure was restored and most everyone had water throughout the day. About 4 p.m., the pumps to the tower were shut off briefly to allow us to gain volume in our clear wells. This briefly, once again, shut water off to the city.

“The levels in the towers will improve once the capacity demand drops. This means that after everyone goes to bed and the demand drops to almost nothing tonight that the tower water inventory will increase throughout the night. Once the tower water is fully replenished, which may take a few days, the main objective is to keep it replaced. Replace demand with supply on an even basis.

“The permanent solution at the Lake Tawakoni Pump Station continues to be worked. It amazed me throughout the night and today the teamwork and generosity shown by everyone involved. We had people from various cities call to offer assistance, suppliers came by to offer help and support, Wal-Mart in Terrell called to let us know if we needed something like large quantities of water that they were there for us, Sabine River Authority came in and offered assistance. The Donut Place supplied something to eat to those who have been working for the last 30 hours.

“Thank you to all of our citizens who expressed appreciation for the effort and sacrifice by everyone in our quest to restore water. The inconvenience is tough but we work together as a community. I certainly appreciate the multitude of people who offered to help, posted positive feedback and encouragement, shared information so that everyone could be informed and who wanted to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.”