City of Port Arthur issues boil water notice

City of Port Arthur issues boil water notice

The City of Port Arthur has issued a Boil Water Advisory for all areas within the City with the exception of Sabine Pass and Port Acres until further notice.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) sets minimum water quality standards for public drinking water. One of these standards is loss of pressure in the distribution system. Loss of pressure to 20 psi or less could allow a back siphon to occur and contaminate the distribution system. The back siphon could allow organisms including bacteria, viruses and parasites that can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea and associated headaches. These symptoms can be particularly severe in people who are not as resistant to infections as most of the population. If you experience severe symptoms, please consult with your doctor to determine what actions you should take.

The City of Port Arthur failed to meet the minimum pressure requirements on January 17, 2018. Specifically, the pressure in the distribution system may have fallen below 20 psi within the entire city limits of Port Arthur with the exception of the Port Acres and Sabine Pass areas. Due to the nature and severity of this violation, the TCEQ has required us to issue this public notice and advise customers to boil their water prior to consumption. To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, any water that you use for drinking, cooking and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to consumption. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil then boiled for two minutes. In lieu of boiling, you may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other source. When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, we will notify you.

LaRisa Carpenter, spokesperson for the City of Port Arthur, explained what caused the low pressure.

"It's a combination of things. There's been the low temperature, but prior to the low temperatures, despite what many folks might think, the ground was pretty dry, even after Harvey, and the dryer the ground is the more it shifts and when the ground shifts the support for the water pipes would move, which of course would cause the pipes to move and some of these pipes would move too much, causing leaks or breaks," she said. "That issue has been magnified by the low temperatures."

The most recent issues have been water pipe breaks and dripping faucets in order to prevent water pipe breaks, she said.

"All of those have contributed to the reduction in pressure in the system because there's a continuous outflow of water and the pressure can't keep up with it," Carpenter said.

The City is currently working on finding the leaks and breaks whether residential or commerical and cutting off water at the meter boxes in order to allow the time and resources for repair of the busted pipes.

"With the increased temperature, folks won't be continuously dripping their faucets to avoid freezing their pipes, so that will assist in the efforts," Carpenter said. "And of course the crews are locating and repairing any of the water main breaks that are out there. ... We've got all our crews dispatched as well as some contractors on site repairing these."

Carpenter said the pressure is steadily increasing, but the city is still under a boil water advisory and conservation efforts are encouraged because they will help rebuild the pressure as quickly as possible.

"Once that pressure is rebuilt and all the testing is completed and comes back satisfactory then we'll lift the advisory," she said.

For additional information contact Port Arthur Water Utilities at (409) 983-3841.

In addition, Port Arthur ISD has issued the following statement on its website:

Due to the City's water pressure issues, the District, like the city, is under a boil water notice. After discussion with City officials, the District has made the decision that children can be picked up from school, otherwise, we will make provisions for the students that must remain on campus.

We are working with the Shipping and Receiving department to deliver bottled water to all campuses and our cafeteria workers are taking the necessary steps to ensure our food preparation is not inhibited by the low water pressure.

Principals and staff are on hand to assist parents with the pick up the process. We will continue to monitor this situation and update the community as time allows.

Lamar State College Port Arthur has decided to close its campus today due to the notice.

Due to low water pressure in the City of Port Arthur, restrooms and potable water are unavailable on campus. Because of this, LSCPA will close its campus immediately, the college's website states.