Main Break That Led To Restrictions, Boil Orders Investigated

(Photo by Nick Delgado)
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(July 16, 2014) Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 is investigating whether all of the proper steps were taken before the agency was notified of a weekend main break that led to emergency use restrictions and boil orders that affected tens of thousands of area residents.

The break occurred when a worker struck the water line while trenching as a contractor worked on a subdivision in Belton.

The company declined comment Wednesday.

The district estimates that 29 millions of gallons of water gushed out of the broken main, which provides water to west Bell County, Copperas Cove and Fort Hood.

“We are in the process of finalizing the cost for the repair, exactly to the gallon how much water that we've lost, and we are also investigating exactly what happened, and why the waterline was hit,” WCID Manager Jerry Atkinson said.

Atkinson said he does not want to jeopardize the ongoing investigation by releasing details at this time, but said he is confident that taxpayers won’t have to foot the bill for costs associated with the break.

“In my 41 years of doing this business, I’ve seen a lot of breaks and I’ve seen a lot of failures,” he said.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one that had the impact or the magnitude that this one has had.”

Officials are now evaluating how all entities performed in response to the water crisis.

Meanwhile, boil orders that were issued after the major water main break that temporarily cut off supplies to Fort Hood, Copperas Cove and towns and cities in west Bell County were lifted Wednesday.

Killeen’s boil order, which was rescinded Wednesday afternoon, affected all customers in the southwestern quadrant of the city from State Highway 195 west to the city limit and from U.S. 190 south to the city limit.

Fort Hood and Copperas Cove lifted their boil orders earlier in the day.

A mandatory conservation order in Nolanville was lifted Tuesday morning and no boil order was required, Bell County WCID # 3 said in a press release.

Emergency water restrictions that were implemented after the main break over the weekend have been lifted as well.

After the break, Killeen entered Stage 4 of its Water Conservation Plan and Copperas Cove implemented Stage 5 restrictions.

Fort Hood implemented Stage 4 of its Water Conservation plan, limiting water use to essential needs and it remained in effect Monday.

Harker Heights advised residents to restrict water use and to avoid outside watering.

Nolanville issued a mandatory water conservation order.