Low water pressure on SPI lasted for days
By Gaige Davila
South Padre Island had been burdened with water issues the past week, with repairs concluding this past Tuesday.
A pump went down at the Laguna Madre Water District’s (LMWD) water treatment plant in Laguna Vista on July 9, then a second pump went down on July 15. The water treatment plant can operate at 100% with three pumps, with a fourth as a backup. With the backup pump and third pump down, water pressure to South Padre Island was reduced.
Initially, Carlos Galvan, LMWD’s General Manager, said the motor for the downed pump would be received last Friday. By Tuesday, July 20, the LMWD had still not received the pump, due to a family emergency at the machine shop, Galvan said.
“The issues with the two motors happened unexpectedly,” Galvan stated in a press release. “They are 100-horespowered, reliable motors, so for a motor of this size to go down is rare, but it does happen.”
LMWD will be buying two new motors and restoring the ones that went down, keeping the latter on standby if needed. Galvan told the PRESS the new water pump motor was installed around 3 p.m. on July 20. The backup pump will be repaired on Friday, July 23.
Galvan said that through the recently passed bond, the LMWD will be able to repair the water treatment plant in Port Isabel, which is currently not operating, to alleviate the water demand during summer and prevent incidents like this from happening again. The LMWD has also ordered two new water pumps and two new motors just in case.
On the same day the backup water pump went down, a leak was found in a 16-inch water pipe under the highest point of the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will have to close a lane of the bridge to repair it, and the LMWD will need to acquire the proper equipment before a repair can be made.
As of press time, this is already underway: the LMWD has ordered the two pipes necessary to replace the broken line and has rented a snoop truck, a vehicle specifically made to take crews under bridges to repair them. The pipes, which need to be specially fabricated, will likely be in next week.
“The water leak at the Causeway has been determined that it is not a large leak for now,” Galvan told the PRESS. “For now there are no other issues to get our water to South Padre Island or any customer.”
The LMWD asks customers to contact them with any questions or concerns at (956) 943-2626 or by email, email@example.com.