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Commerce Water Restoration Timetable Unclear, Boil Notice Until Next Week

Commerce has been without municipal water service since Tuesday evening.
Mark Haslett
Commerce has been without municipal water service since Tuesday evening.

In Commerce, city staff are still working to restore water service as of late Thursday afternoon. But even if water delivery is restored on Thursday, a boil water notice will remain in effect until next week.

The City of Commerce municipal water system has been offline since Tuesday evening, when the system’s pumps failed. Without the pumps to create sufficient pressure, water cannot be moved through the system’s pipes.

City staff installed a temporary pump on Wednesday, and water began flowing through the system Thursday morning, according to a release from city government. But as of late Thursday afternoon, water pressure in the system remain insufficiently low.

“After 9 hours of pumping, we are still not gaining pressure within the distribution system as we expected to," the city said in a release late Thursday. "Crews are actively working to assess the situation and find out why. We will provide further updates as information becomes available."

A boil water notice will remain in effect in Commerce into next week. The lack of water pressure also disabled the city’s water sanitization system, and the boil water notice will remain until laboratories can verify that the water is safe to drink.

“After system pressure is restored, the City must collect numerous water samples,” a news release said late Thursday morning. “These samples have to be delivered to a certified water laboratory to be tested. If the test results are clear, then the State will allow us to remove the boil water notice.”

Such laboratory tests typically take about a day to process.

“We expect the boil water notice to last at least until Tuesday,” the city’s latest release said. Laboratories are not expected to open again until Monday. Additionally, Commerce is one of many cities across Texas that have had to issue boil water notices due to the effects of this week’s winter storms and electrical grid failures.

The City of Commerce is also asking residents to watch for any leaks when water service resumes. Damage to pipes might not become observable until water is flowing through them again.

If a leak cannot be stopped, Commerce residents can call (903) 886-5111 and city staff will be dispatched to manually shut off the water at the property.

Bitterly cold overnight temperatures tonight could cause some pipes to freeze. Decreasing cloud cover is expected to lead to colder nighttime temperatures, with lows forecast to drop to around 10 degrees early Friday morning.

Mark Haslett has served at KETR since 2013. Since then, the station's news operation has enjoyed an increase in listener engagement and audience metrics, as well recognition in the Texas AP Broadcasters awards.