It’s been 11 long days since water service was disrupted in the communities of Daisetta and Hull. The failed water pump that caused the outage to Hull Fresh Water Supply District has been replaced and officials with the water district are working with representatives of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to get water samples tested as accurately and quickly as possible.
In a best case scenario, however, it will likely be Saturday, at the earliest, before the boil water notice is lifted, said Cindy Burchfield with the Hull Fresh Water Supply District and a member of the Daisetta City Council.
“TCEQ is out today helping us pull a sample. They want to pull it themselves to make sure it’s absolutely right. Then they will send it off to the lab. That process takes 18 to 24 hours,” Burchfield said.
Because previous water samples have failed in testing, TCEQ is requiring that the water district pass three consecutive tests before the boil water notice can be lifted.
“Everyone has water at this point in their taps, but it’s not drinkable,” Burchfield said.
Last Friday, Oct. 14, TCEQ granted the water district an emergency authorization that allows water customers to use their water supply for sanitary purposes only, such as flushing toilets and bathing. Consumption of the water is highly discouraged.
Most of the community continues pitching together to get through the crisis, said Burchfield.
“The ones who are not complaining and blaming have really stepped up to help each other,” she said. “This has been an ordeal for all of us.”
On Saturday, Oct. 15, Convoy of Hope, a Springfield, Mo., non-profit, delivered 27 cases of water to Harvest Church in Daisetta. Seven of the cases were donated to Hull-Daisetta ISD.
H-DISD Superintendent Tim Bartram was on hand Saturday to accept the donation from Harvest Church Pastor J. Taylor Choate, who organized the Convoy of Hope delivery. Bartram said that schools will only be open on Monday and Tuesday of this week as Wednesday through Friday were already school holidays to allow students to participate in TVE events.
“Even if the boil water notice comes off when planned, I am going to make sure our water fountain filters are cleared out before letting the kids drink from them. I plan to run bottled water all throughout next week,” Bartram said.
The school district was prepared for this week, he said, and had purchased cases of bottled water from Sam’s Club.
With 435 students and roughly 100 members of staff at Hull-Daisetta ISD, the water donation should carry the school district through the crisis. Seven cases equates to 7,056 bottles of water.
“We have had water issues before. Things happen, water lines break. Last year, we had a water line that broke during the winter storm, and that caused a temporary outage for the school district,” Bartram said. “We will stockpile any water we have left and will be ready for the next crisis.”
Pastor Choate, who also is a Dayton High School geometry teacher and a member of the Dayton Community Development Corporation, arranged the water donation through a contact he has in Springfield, Mo.
“I found out Convoy of Hope was down in Florida doing disaster relief. Within about 30 minutes, my contact called back to say he could commit to 15 pallets of water. They ended up bringing 27 cases of water, which is roughly 20,000 bottles,” he said. “This was a collaboration by all of us in the community – the church, the school and the city.”
While a water crisis is best avoided, Choate said the silver lining is that it allows people an opportunity to exhaust themselves helping others.
In addition to four cases of water per family, Harvest Church also handed out $7 in quarters, two cups of detergent and two dryer sheets to assist people in laundering their clothes at laundromats in neighboring communities.