AUSTIN, Texas — On Friday, Austin Water announced that it has completed making important repairs as it continues to take necessary steps to prepare its three water treatment facilities for the potential of freezing temperatures.
The utility company said it took the following weatherization actions after drawing recommendations from the Austin Water Winter Storm Uri After Action Report:
- Water treatment plants that sustained storm damage during Winter Storm Uri such as broken pipes, valves, basins and impacts to chemical feed systems have been repaired. Insulation to protect exposed piping has also been installed at these facilities.
- Winter weather supplies are on hand at all water treatment plants to assist with transportation challenges during icy conditions. These supplies are ready-to-go, and include heaters, sand, deicing fluid and other supplies.
- Safety supplies are also in place, including boot spikes for walking on icy surfaces and tire chains for vehicles, as well as cots, ready-to-eat meals and other supplies for staff who will remain at the plants around the clock during extreme weather events.
- Austin Water operators have modified their winter maintenance schedule so that water treatment plants are capable of increasing water production quickly if customer demand sharply increases due to dripping faucets or leaks due to burst pipes, such as those experienced during Winter Storm Uri.
Austin Water said it is also working to improve power resiliency with construction ongoing on a new electrical substation at the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant, with additional construction nearing completion on power distribution upgrades at the Davis Water Treatment Plant.
Following challenges with hauling lime residuals – otherwise known as "sludge" – from water treatment plants during the freezing weather, the utility company said it was working to increase its sludge storage and disposal capacity at all three plants.
“Austin Water crews have worked diligently to repair damage at our water treatment plants and strengthen our readiness for the winter season,” said Stephanie Sue, Austin Water operations manager. “These efforts began immediately following Winter Storm Uri and continue to be prioritized. We have learned from this year’s event and have taken action to be ready for future extreme weather.”
For more information on Austin Water's winterization efforts, check out the video below:
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