City clears up discolored water after equipment breaks down

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Discolored water poured out of faucets throughout the City of Kilgore this week after a pair of pumping problems – safe to drink, officials say, and the original issues with the water were fixed that day, but it takes time for the color to clear up.

According to Kilgore City Manager Josh Selleck, the problems arose early Thursday. City personnel addressed them throughout the day and into the evening.

“We had two separate issues,” he said, beginning about 7:30 a.m. “One was a pump out near our wellfield that went out of service unexpectedly. The second was a break in the water main running from the wellfield.

“Luckily, because of our dual-source design, we were able to utilize water that we had stored and chlorinated at our surface water treatment plant to fill in as soon as the issue was realized.”

Almost the entire city was impacted, he added, by varying degrees.

“Our current pressures and water quality indicate no need for boil water, but discoloration has been reported,” Selleck said. “Areas range from light to dark brown,” and City Hall put out a call for residents to report anything darker than a light tea color to 903-988-5081.

If the discoloration doesn't clear up, residents should run an outside faucet until the flow is clear in order to flush out the water in their home pipes.

“If they have major discoloration issues, they should avoid doing laundry or running that water through their hot water heater until the water clears,” Selleck said.

The abrupt change in the water source changes the direction of the flow in the water distribution system.

“That has likely created much of the discoloration issue, breaking loose scale that is present on the inside of our water pipes,” he added, and Kilgore firefighters flushed hydrants in various parts of town to clear out the system. “We're hoping that by (Friday) much of the abnormal discoloration issues will be resolved.”

The cause of the separate breakdowns is still a mystery, and water department workers are investigating.

According to Selleck, the city's been working on multiple projects throughout the distribution system, including a software update.

“Unfortunately, it'll be tough to pinpoint the exact cause, but we do know these are issues that arise with systems our current age.”

Selleck repeated the recommendation for homeowners to flush their pipes and call in lingering issues to 903-988-5081.

“If the water's not clear by Friday morning,” he noted, “they should flush their system using an exterior faucet until the water runs clear.

“If that doesn't work, they need to call the water department and request a system flush.”

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