UPDATE 8/5/19: As of 1pm CST, the Boil Water Notice for the affected area has been cancelled. The Rescind Notice can be viewed here. It is being e-mailed out to all affected customers with e-mails in our database as well as robocalls are being made to affected customers.
A processor malfunction at the water plant in Lakeway Municipal Water Utility District (LMUD) jurisdiction warranted a Boil Water Notice to be issued to over 700 LMUD customers on Sunday, August 4, 2019.
At 4:30am on Sunday, August 4, 2019, Kyle Wilds II, LMUD’s Water Operator on call that evening received an alert call that there was a communication failure in the system with the E3 elevated water tank. All LMUD operations are under surveillance through a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) control system that water operators have access to 24 hours a day. Wilds was able to view the details of E3 from his cell phone immediately, which showed adequate pressure and water level, however, further investigation showed that these results were actually frozen data from their last procedural read. Wilds immediately headed to the water treatment plant where it was discovered that the tank was below adequate level to provide the proper pressure for this area. This resulted in about 30 minutes of low water pressure for a small percentage of residences in the affected area and below 20 psi for others. Per Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regulations, these criteria warranted a boil water notice to be issued to residents in the affected area as a precautionary measure. Notices must be issued within 24 hours of the detection of the incident.
“Our number one priority is always providing quality water to our customers, so when this happened, our team followed proper protocol to focus on fixing the problem before all else,” said Earl Foster, general manger for LMUD. After the problem was fixed, LMUD staff began flushing main lines and checking chlorine residuals throughout the system to ensure quality water is in the lines. By 10:30am a water sample had been sent in to the lab for testing. “Being Sunday, there was no one there, but luckily, we were able to reach someone so the water could begin being tested immediately,” said Raf Mendoza, water supervisor for LMUD. Lab tests take an average of 24 hours to produce results. Once lab results are received, a Boil Water Notice can be rescinded.
With the system malfunction, the water operators had to manually pull data to figure out which streets were affected by this Boil Water Notice. Emergency calls had come in from a very centralized location, the World of Tennis, so they were the first to be notified. After that, maps were viewed to decide which other locations could possibly be affected. It was decided that a notice would be sent to approximately 774 residences who are serviced by the E3 tank. The following locations were included in the Boil Water Notice: Highlander, Tartan, Vanguard, Flying Scot, Champion Dr, Calypso Dr, Blue Jay Dr, Lido, Lido Circle, Eagle, Eagle Cove, Dragon, Capri, Yacht Ct. Scamper Cove. Javelin Dr. Tallstar Dr. Nautilus Ave, Rudder Dr, Deck Cove, Schooner Dr. Dasher, Snipe Ct, Vixen Ct, Triton Ct, Scorpion Dr, Flamingo Cove, Teal, World of Tennis, 403-424, 202-212, 701-711, 301-316 Malabar, 603-623 Flamingo, and 2704-4102 Lakeway Blvd.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time our Boil Water Notices are planned. The last time we had to issue an unplanned boil water notice was several years ago, and even then, it occurred during regular business hours. I’m thankful that so many of our staff made it a priority to come in on their day off and help out with this situation,” said Loyd Smith, Finance/ Administration Manager for LMUD. With a recently new answering service being added, making reverse 911 calls were not an option. Approximately 646 e-mails were sent out and the available field maintenance team went door to door handing out the notices to over 450 locations.
Foster added, “This was an unfortunate event that we were not prepared for. We definitely learned a valuable lesson from it and will be better prepared next time so that we can get notices out faster. I am confident, however, that because we were able to flush the system so early in the morning that any residents in the affected area who drank water during this time consumed the same quality water that they can always expect from us.”
The lab results are expected by 1pm today. Once results are in and a rescind for the Boil Water Notice can be issued, robocalls will be made as well as e-mails sent out to the affected homeowners.
Information about what to do in the case of a Boil Water Notice can be found here.