Repairs to infrastructure and emergency assistance efforts are continuing after last week’s winter storms left thousands of people without power and water.
Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce members gathered virtually Tuesday to discuss power grid and water failures and resulting damages and assistance for residents and businesses.
The chamber began weekly conference calls last spring to coordinate and inform various entities and businesses on the pandemic, but this week’s discussion largely centered on a more recent crisis that City Manager Mario Canizares said may go into the record books as the most costly disaster in history of the state.
“It was a pretty intense situation that I’ve never experienced,” he said. “When it affects the entire state and the entire state is in gridlock and stuck where they are for three to five days, no one could really come in and assist us. I’m just appreciative we could get through this. We will be doing a full assessment of this past week to see where our holes were so we learn as we go. We definitely will come back with a full report to understand where our vulnerabilities were.”
Failures in the power grid last week damaged the city’s surface water treatment plant, which typically serves about 70% the community. Repairs were completed and water service was restored over the weekend. A boil water notice issued Wednesday was lifted on Monday, with customers instructed to dispose of ice from ice makers and flush faucets.
City officials on Tuesday reassured residents that water is safe to drink after some reported water had a cloudy appearance.
“This is due to air in the water lines in the aftermath of the water system shutdown, and will be temporary,” officials said in a press release.
Crews are working to flush lines of remaining air pockets. Residents who notice water leaks at their meters are asked to report them by calling 936-559-2900.
Those in the Oncor service area who remain without power should report it to Oncor by texting OUT to 66267 or calling 1-888-313-4747.
Those served by Deep East Texas Electric still without power can report it by calling 800-392-5986 or online at deepeast.com.
The Nacogdoches Area United Way established a local recovery fund to distribute donations to area nonprofits dedicated to disaster relief.
“The purpose is to fund our agencies that are pretty much stretched right now,” local United Way CEO Gary Lee Ashcraft said.
For more information or to donate, visit unitedwaynac.org or call 936-564-5869.
Home owners without insurance who had damages from the storms may quality for assistance through FEMA. More information and applications are available at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.