Downed power lines damaged water system motors

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

A recent accident involving power lines on Farm-to-Market Road 2508, which caused a blackout in Ben Bolt on Thursday, has left residents with a dilemma of having to boil their water for consumption or cooking, officials said.

"We lost some of our motors because of the lower voltage," said Juan Martinez, water district president. "They are doing a lot of testing and hopefully we can fix it quickly."

Because of the power outage on Thursday afternoon, which sheriff officials said was caused by an 18-wheeler that snagged the power lines and caused damage to a utility pole, Ben Bolt's water system suffered damaged motors.

As a precautionary measure, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has required the public water system, Jim Wells County Fresh Water Supply District, to notify all of its customers to boil their water for drinking and cooking until further notice.

Martinez said that workers with the water district are testing the water at least every 24 hours until the water is safe. He said the TCEQ office in Corpus Christi is monitoring the situation.

Ben Bolt residents are asked to boil their water to ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes for water used for drinking, cooking and making ice. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two more minutes.

Residents may choose to purchase bottled water or obtain water from other suitable sources.

On Sunday, the water district board will have a public meeting about the water problem at the district office at 2 p.m. onFM 2508.

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the water system officials will notify customers the water is safe to drink.

"It is better to prevent this then to have people sick," Martinez said.