BOGATA — On Monday, Bogata lost water and electricity, and after the electricity came back on, the whole city was put on a boil water advisory.
Councilman Tex Loftin said he liked the phrase “trials and tribulations.”
“We have had a few this week, but we all came together,” Loftin said. “The whole town has pulled together.”
It turns out the main valve on the city’s water tower had broken, he said.
“It busted the valve,” Loftin said, causing the main water tank to drain. “When they figured it out, they got it fixed. Well, while that was happening, we lost the ability to recirculate the heat (in the water pumps). We lost water pressure, and then we lost the ability to refill the water tank.”
Anytime the taps were turned on in the city, water came out, but it was a stream the width of a pencil, he said, and because of state regulations regarding loss of water pressure, the city was put under a boil water notice.
Mayor Pro Tem Larry Hinsley said the city was lucky.
“We were lucky to have extra parts and help from citizens,” he said. “Most of the credit for our good recovery goes out to our city workers. They braved the extreme cold for many hours to lessen the effects of the situation, and are still helping people as the thaw reveals leaks and such.”
City residents will have to sit under the boil water notice a little bit longer, Loftin said.
“We’ve had numerous water main breaks,” he said, adding they’ve been able to work around them. “We are under a boil water advisory for the next week. We have to send samples off to Austin to test them for bacteria in the water.”
Loftin estimates that 30 to 35 homes were without power and had their water pipes frozen over.
“If you didn’t have gas heat, your pipes froze,” he said.
But, the community came together to make sure everyone was okay. The city council had an emergency meeting to open up the Bogata Community Center as a warming and watering station for those without electricity or water, he said.
“Our community center was open from Monday until Friday evening,” he said.
Loftin, working with the Red River County Emergency Management Coordinator, went and got over 20 cases of water to distribute to those who needed it around town. Volunteers and some city council members got out and delivered it to those who needed it.
“One little old lady told me she didn’t need water to drink, she needed water for coffee,” Loftin said.
The Bogata Police Department has been out and about doing numerous welfare checks, in their own four-wheel-drive vehicles, and the volunteers have been working with the Bogata Food Pantry to deliver food to those without.
And residents have helped elderly neighbors shovel snow off of icy sidewalks, and Loftin said the whole community has worked to make sure everyone is okay.
“I was very proud,” he said.
“I and the city council are lucky to have a highly motivated and dedicated support group here in Bogata,” Hinsley said. “Together, along with the people of Bogata, is why Bogata is a good place to call home. It could have been much worse. We had never been in this situation and the emergency plan had to be altered on the fly. We will be assessing what we have learned and making plans for future emergencies.”