Palestine city officials are asking residents to conserve water until further notice, after the water treatment plant was knocked off-line during Wednesday night storms.
Powerful storms and high winds ripped through Palestine Wednesday night, causing severe damage, and leaving many residents without electricity.
The Palestine Water Treatment Facility, also a casualty of the storm, lost power after the wind snapped multiple poles, downing several power lines.
Without power, the facility is unable to treat city water; what was in city water lines when electricity was lost is all there will be until the plant comes back online.
“It's imperative that residents conserve water,” City Manager Michael Hornes told the Herald-Press Thursday. “We don't want to lose pressure in the lines.”
Oncor estimates restoration of power to the plant between midnight and one a.m. Friday.
“The crews at Oncor are being pulled every which way,” Hornes said. “I asked them to do whatever is necessary to get the facility up and running as soon as possible; people will need water before they need electricity.”
The city maintains three water towers, which hold up to two-and-a-half million gallons of water, in case pressure in the city's water lines drops too low. Hornes stressed these reserves are for emergencies only, and residents should not rely upon this water for everyday use.
“We have to maintain water pressure in the event of emergencies, like structure fires, and for the hospital and care facilities in the city,” he said. “Until further notice, we ask residents to please conserve all water use to emergency use only.”
Oncor will be repairing major electrical feeders before sending crews to individually damaged lines. Officials warn residents to be aware of their surroundings, and to stay away from downed power lines and fallen trees, as power lines, not readily visible, can be tangled in the trees.
The city's compost facility on Spring Street will be open until at least 7 p.m. for residents to drop off their tree debris at no charge.