Churches provide water during boil notice

June 4, 2011 8:18:22 PM PDT
The massive fire that destroyed a lumber yard near Old Town Spring on Friday is forcing hundreds of homeowners to boil their water.

The fire that started it all happened at Bayer Lumber Yard on Aldine Westfield at Bayer. It affected a couple water tanks that serve 900 homes in the area.

Bayer Water Company is working to fix the water outage, which was caused by a massive lumber yard fire Friday.

It could be a while before the water supply to those homes is safe enough to use, so church leaders decided Saturday morning to take the lead and help the community.

The water came in by the truck load Saturday.

And, by the dozens, families dealing with the water outage rushed in to grab some liquid relief.

"They say we wasn't going to have water. For over a week, we wasn't going to have water," Sydney Williams said.

With the help of HEB, six area churches organized a water distribution center at True Vine Baptist Church.

"We're in the middle of the heat of the summer. Hundred-degree temperatures, no rain in sight. You know, where do we get water from other than our water company?" asked Gladys Phillips of True Vine.

Arson investigators say they're now talking to a couple of teens who may have started the fire that caused the water outage in a hay barn near the Bayer tanks.

The utility company owners say the fire damaged a couple of booster pumps causing service to its customers to shut down.

"We're talking 900 businesses and families without water, not knowing exactly when they are going to get water," Phillips explained.

The water company's owners say service is slowly being restored, and it's already back in some parts of Old Town Spring.

Crews have been on the property, working to replace the pumps.

The Bayers say replacing the chlorination system here make take a few days, but each day without water is a big inconvenience for some of these neighbors.

"I'm used to bathing every night. I couldn't take no bath last night. Clothes all dirty. I don't have no water to wash clothes or drink water. Or wash my dishes. Dishes sitting in the sink, dirty," Williams said.

For now, members of this community say they're stuck preparing for a few more days without water.

"It's got us pulling together. [We're] really pulling together as a community," Ella Senegal said.

Until further notice, a boil water notice -- mandated by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality -- is in effect for people in the area.

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking and making ice should be boiled and cooled prior to consumption.

The water should be brought to a vigorous, rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes. In lieu of boiling, you may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source, officials said.

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, water system officials will notify residents that the water is safe for consumption.

The owners tell us they're hoping to lift that boil notice by Tuesday.

If you have questions regarding the boil water notice, you may contact Bayer Water System at 281-353-2215.

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