City of Port Arthur begins voluntary water restrictions; Nederland updates similar concerns

Published 1:37 pm Monday, August 21, 2023

Drought conditions continue to take a toll on the area as the dry, cracked ground shifts causing major water leaks.

The leaks led to low water pressure across the region and the closing of Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Port Arthur on Monday.

To help increase the water level in the city’s storage towers and increase pressure, Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie is asking residents to voluntarily restrict their water usage.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Residents should water on days similar to their addresses at specific times.

For example, residents with odd numbered addresses, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 should water on odd numbered days. They may water on Saturdays and Wednesdays, midnight to 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. to midnight.

Those with even numbered addresses should water even numbered days. They may water on Sundays and Thursdays midnight to 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight.

Bartie held a news conference Monday at city hall to deliver the news. He was accompanied by Brian Wallace, project coordinator; Darrell Harmon, utility operations manager; Clyde Trahan, assistant director of utilities; Calvin Matthews, director of water utilities; and Pamela Langford, assistant city manager of operations.

Bartie said washing of vehicles should be done with strict precaution.

“All of these actual tenants put in place will bring us to where we want to be as having our water towers filled with water and the pressure increases so that the water can be pumped out to where it’s actually needed,” Bartie said.

Port Arthur Independent School District posted on social media Sunday night that leaks and low water pressure led to the cancellation of classes at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.

“PAISD and the City of Port Arthur will continue to monitor the status of this utility,” the PAISD Facebook post read.

Calvin Matthews said the toilets at the school are commercial and require pressure to operate.

“The pressure got below the operating pressure for flush valves, as they weren’t able to operate those pressures so they had to close the school,” Matthews said.

Harmon said they are receiving 10 to 15 calls per day of leaks —major and minor — throughout the city.

When asked how dire the situation is in Port Arthur, Langford said anytime you experience issues like this, even with minimal loss of water, it’s dire to safety.

The issue is one that is being experienced across the state due to extreme heat and drought conditions, she said.

“But we are working diligently to stay on top of this situation. City crews are out morning, noon and night addressing the leaks as they occur,” Langford said. “We will continue to monitor our pressure to ensure that we can get these issues addressed as soon as possible and pray for rain.”

City of Nederland

Due to the severe heat and weather conditions, the City of Nederland is experiencing a number of waterline breaks.

Late Sunday, a water leak occurred, and crews are still on-site making the necessary repairs, the city announced Monday at noon.

The water plant is tracking consumption and the quantity of treated water being produced.

“It is necessary to request a voluntary water

Use reduction. We ask that all utility customers conserve water by considering the following measures:

Limit non-essential water uses, check for leaks at your home or business, make sprinkler adjustments to avoid watering sidewalks, driveways, and roadways, and avoid watering your grass,” a city release said.

Officials ask residents not to water yards between noon and 7 p.m.

Those with questions concerning this matter, can call the City Manager’s Office at 409-723-1503.