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UPDATE: Bell County boil orders end for some residents

Belton Water Treatment Plant
Posted at 5:09 PM, May 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 19:35:09-04

UPDATE (Tuesday 3:59 p.m.) - A boil water notice for all Belton residents has been rescinded following results received by the city and the Bell County Water Improvement and Control District No. 1.

Fort Hood officials lifted their boil water notice at 3:40 p.m. after Fort Hood's contractor, American Water, certified that the water is safe to drink.

"We are very pleased to have received lab results back this afternoon which indicate that Fort Hood's water is safe and potable for our Soldiers, families, and other employees," said Brian Dosa, Fort Hood director of public works. "This allows us to lift the boil water notice effective immediately."

Additionally, the City of Harker Heights lifted its boil water notice Tuesday afternoon.

UPDATE (Tuesday 8:10 a.m.) - Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 has officially ended water use restrictions.

However, customers are still being asked to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 5 percent as we enter the summer months and anticipate droughts.

Meanwhile, the boil water notice will remain in place as segments of the plant await their e. coli testing results.

UPDATE (Monday 10:29 p.m.) — Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 said residents could expect boil orders and water conservation efforts to end as early as noon on Tuesday.

WCID is continuing efforts to restore water pressure and water storage to its full capacities after Sunday's power outage.

Officials said they were hoping to increase output to 60 million gallons per day by Monday evening, but asked residents to cut their typical water usage in half to expedite the process.

"The more that is conserved now, the quicker we can ease the water restriction and commence sample collection to lift the boil water advisory," Ricky Garrett, general manager of Bell County WCID 1 said during a press conference Monday.

The loss of water pressure on Sunday could have created the potential for bacterial contamination, Garret explained. WCID sent a water sample for testing on Monday and expects lab results by Tuesday afternoon.

If conservation efforts continue and test results return clean, Garrett said WCID 1 could lift its boil order advisory by midday Tuesday.

UPDATE (06:22 p.m.) – Crews restored power to the Belton Water Treatment Plant this evening after a sudden shutdown this afternoon cut off water for thousands across much of Bell County, officials said.

"It's going to be a slow process," Ricky Garrett, General Manager of Bell County WCID 1, told 25 News.

Garrett stressed WCID 1's customers, who total between 250,000 to 300,000 people, should use the least amount of water possible over the next few days.

He said the boil water notice will remain in effect for "hours if not days" while crews work through the slow process of restoring water lines to full capacity.

Only when lines are restored in full, can the plant's personnel test for harmful pathogens and contamination, Garrett said.

As to what caused the power loss in the first place, the plant manager said they have yet to determine the cause, but he did say this is the first time the plant has lost power in recent memory.

"We've had a spotless record with Oncor," Garret said. "Even during Winter Storm Uri, we never lost power."

Original article:
BELTON, Texas – A plant-wide power outage has left multiple Bell County cities under a boil water notice, said officials.

The impacted cities include the following:

  • Belton
  • Copperas Cove
  • the Fort Hood Military Reservation
  • Harker Heights
  • Killeen
  • Nolanville

Around 1 p.m. this evening, all electrical power was lost at the Belton Water Treatment Plan, according to the City of Killeen.

Crews had almost finished repairing a system break reported on Saturday when the outage occurred.

Due to significant water pressure loss throughout the system, a boil water notice has been issued for at least 36 hours, in accordance with TCEQ regulations.

Upon full pressure and disinfectant levels being restored, officials said the water will then be tested for e-coli before the boil order is lifted; this test will take at least 24 hours to complete.

The boil order will be lifted for all parts of the system with passing test results, said officials.

Meanwhile, Bell County cities are still reminding residents to voluntarily conserve water as much as possible.

"At this time, the City of Killeen is still requesting residents adhere to strict voluntary water conservation efforts for the next 24 hours," said the City of Killeen in a statement.

"We ask citizens to please abstain from any water use or service that is not absolutely necessary for now."

In Harker Heights, residents are being asked to cut their water usage back by 75 percent.