SAWS News: SAWS Restores Water/Sewer Services to Port Aransas
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SAWS Restores Water/Sewer Services to Port Aransas

San Antonio Water System (SAWS) crews managed to successfully pressurize the city of Port Aransas’ water system and prepped its wastewater system for future operation – all in less than a week since deadly Hurricane Harvey blasted the small coastal city with 130 mph winds and pounding rains.

More than 20 SAWS employees arrived late Sunday night with 12 trucks, backhoes and several large generators. What they found was near devastation and a small water department whose buildings and equipment were severely damaged. The city, located on Mustang Island about 180 miles southeast of San Antonio, also has no power.

“What our crews accomplished was nothing short of amazing,” said Robert R. Puente, SAWS CEO & President, adding that crews had to deal with dangerous debris, water hazards, and snakes. “Our crews allowed Port Aransas employees and residents the time to deal with their personal situations at home, while we worked quickly to make repairs. They appreciated that.”

Late Wednesday night, SAWS crews restored pressure to the water system after controlling hundreds of open, damaged pipes on private property and repairing main breaks that were siphoning pressure from the city’s system. Port Aransas was hoping to issue a boil water notice Thursday so residents can begin using the water for drinking and cooking.

“It’s the most essential step in the city’s road to recovery,” Puente said.

SAWS crews also assisted the city’s wastewater system. It will be operational as soon as power is restored to the area, said Mike Brinkmann, SAWS vice president of Distribution & Collection Operations.

To accomplish this, SAWS sent a combined 40 employees – one shift that arrived Sunday night and another that relieved them early Wednesday. Most are trained in both water and wastewater operations.

“I did my part when I was in the Army,” said Therenze Herrera Padilla, a utility technician. “So, I need to do my part now for my neighbors.”

Puente said crews will leave Port Aransas late today (Friday) but will leave two large generators behind until electricity is restored, which could be as early as Monday.

 

 

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