Cold conditions leave Houston public works with hundreds of service calls

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The frigid conditions left Houston Public Works with some mind boggling numbers.

City crews worked on busted pipes across the area Friday.

At Tallow Briar Lane, six feet of pipe had to be replaced.

"Corrosion sometimes is due to age and time, but when we get this kind of weather we experience a whole bunch of water leaks," Houston Public Works Assistant Manager Martin Saenz said.

This week, public works received 1,1000 investigation calls, which is eight times higher than normal.

So far, its determined 100 breaks could be tied to cold conditions.
Between breaks, and people dripping water during the cold, the city said an extra 100 million gallons of water was used per day.

"It's like at this point you're fighting somewhat of a hard battle because you drop the numbers and they come right back at you," Saenz said.

While city crews are racing to fix the problem, dealing with no water can be difficult for some.

"How do I wash my dishes? Wash my clothes? Get the kids ready for school. Get them cleaned up," asked Alexander Cruz.

In order to accomplish those things Cruz had to get creative.

"I had to take a bucket and walk to the pool and get water so I could empty the toilet," Cruz said.

The water returned Friday for Cruz, but now he's faced with a new dilemma.

"Nobody has given us any answers about boiling water, of if the water is any good," Cruz said.

Despite sitting for more than two days, Houston public works says neighbors don't have to boil. Instead, they say flush your system.

If you're experience lower pressure, the city said don't worry either. Your water is fine.

They do want neighbors to look for water breaks. If one is spotted, they want neighbors to call 311.

Calls that city crews know will keep them busy into next week.

"Hopefully we can make a dent on this over the weekend and drop some of the numbers," Saenz said.

One way to check if the water break requires a plumber or the city is the meter. If you have no water running and the meter is spinning, you may have to call a plumber.

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