As some Comal County residents return to a state of normal, there are still many struggling with burst pipes and other plumbing issues.
Along with the utility crews who have been working day and night during and after the storms, plumbers are out repairing the breaks, cracks and leaks.
Nickolas Siry is a journeyman plumber with 3 Brothers Plumbing in Canyon Lake.
It’s the family business. His dad, Thomas Siry, is the owner.
“It’s definitely been some long, long days,” Nickolas Siry said. “The jobs themselves are really, really tough. Service calls aren’t the same as a normal service call. It’s multiple repairs, multiple breaks. You can get to one customer and find out you might be there half the day changing out broken pipes so it’s definitely really hard to schedule. That’s probably the hardest part. We got so many customers. Other than that, it’s nice to be back at work.”
Siry said calls started as soon as Feb. 13, and after that, the calls just kept flowing. His phone rang all day Sunday, Monday and throughout the week. But Monday morning was the hardest, he said.
“The phones just blew up Monday, and it just continued,” he said. “We’ve gotten around 50 calls a day, and some days more. Most customers have been very, very nice, but you’re definitely feeling the frustration of a lot of people not having water and it’s really hard trying to pick and choose who needs it more than someone else.”
At the end of last week, Siry said they mostly focused on the elderly and getting all the elderly back up and going. They’re now focused on residential customers without water, and commercial businesses are next.
“Never in history have we been this busy,” he said. “It’s unprecedented, without a doubt. It’s crazy for us to be this busy. We’re working from sunup to sundown. Once we can’t really see no more, we’re just having to call it and if we have to go back to the same house at the end of the day and come back in the morning, that’s what we’re having to do. You keep crossing your fingers and hoping and praying that that’s it.”
Utility companies address water
New Braunfels Utilities and the city of New Braunfels will continue to operate a water station this week after the utility lifted its boil water notice Sunday.
For area residents without water due to household plumbing issues caused by last week’s winter weather events, the water station is located at the New Braunfels Civic/Convention Center at 375 S. Castell Ave. in New Braunfels.
Residents can bring containers, sizes up to a five-gallon bucket, to the loading dock of the Civic/Convention Center for filling. Bottled water will also be available for area residents.
The water station will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday. The water station is also offering water that has gone through a purification process. Residents can bring containers to the Civic Center and request the purified water.
Residents can call 830-221-4002 for questions or more information.
NBU lifted the boil water notice Sunday after fulfilling system-wide state regulatory standards.
NBU water customers had been under a boil water notice since Wednesday after the system experienced low water pressure and outage issues brought on by power outages and extreme weather conditions.
The lifting of the boil water notice came after NBU said it took the necessary corrective actions to restore the water’s quality for drinking water or human consumption purposes and provided TCEQ with laboratory test results indicating the water no longer required boiling before use.
Those who still do not have water pressure should call NBU’s control center number at 830-60-8800.
NBU also said it had put a plan in place to help residential and commercial customers minimize the impact of high bills tied to weather-related water leaks brought on by last week’s winter storm.
NBU said it would make a one-time adjustment to all residential and commercial water and wastewater accounts to assist or aid customers who might have higher bills due to freeze-related leaks or unusually high usage for faucet dripping in order to prevent freezing at their home or business.
“Our customers have had to endure unthinkable hardships due to this extreme weather event. We understand their concerns and want to do all we can to help our community by easing the impact of their next bill,” said NBU Chief Executive Officer Ian Taylor in a statement.
NBU will compare the current usage versus the previous usage and will bill the lower of the two. In brief, NBU will compare billed amounts for the current month versus the previous month. If the current monthly bill is higher, a credit will be applied to the account.
Officials from the Canyon Lake Water Service on Monday said water was restored in all subdivisions in their service territory, but a boil water notice remained in effect for customers in Comal and Blanco counties.
Some individual customers might continue to experience low pressure or be without water due to shut-offs related to leaks, company officials said.
The company and Comal ISD were distributing water Monday at the former H-E-B parking lot on state Highway 46 in Bulverde and Rebecca Creek Elementary School at 125 Quest Ave., but it was unclear at press time whether distributions would continue on Tuesday.
For updates, visit www.sjwtx.com.
About 570 homes in the Cypress Springs on the Guadalupe, Lantana Ridge, Riverwood Estates and Woods of Spring Branch areas were under a do not drink order Monday until further notice, warning customers not to drink or cook with the water, even if it’s boiled.
The order, according to company officials, was the result of vandalism at one of its wells which had not been in service since 2018 after routine water quality testing indicated levels of naturally occurring arsenic levels approaching the maximum level allowed by the federal regulators for drinking water.
Someone put the well back into production on Wednesday, and the company removed the well from production on Friday.
“At no time did the water quality tests show that the well did not meet state and federal drinking standards. However, it was taken offline out of an abundance of caution,” the company told its customers.
Officials said the do not drink order would continue until the company can confirm through water quality testing that the system meets all state and federal drinking water standards.
Although officials said they are doing everything possible to expedite the processing of the samples, the company does not expect to have the laboratory results before Thursday.
Company officials said they have identified a person suspected of the vandalism and referred the matter to local law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security.