Water main break causes crisis for Waco VA Hospital

POSTED: Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 3:01pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 10:33pm

Due to a water main break by a contractor connecting the new water tower, the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System has placed the Waco Campus on water conservation efforts.

At approximately 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the Waco VA Medical Center unexpectedly lost water pressure as crews worked to repair the damaged water main. As of 8:30 p.m., the water supply for normal operations has been disrupted.

The contractor is diligently working to repair the water main, and we have enlisted the help of the Waco/McLennan County Office of Emergency Management and Fort Hood to assist us with an alternate water source. A temporary water supply has been devised to provide water for flushing toilets, and staff are distributing bottled water to all inpatient buildings to provide drinking water as well as comfort baths and additional hand sanitizers.

VA staff called veterans to inform them all Waco VA outpatient appointments for Thursday, April 17, have been cancelled and rescheduling them for a later date.
Social workers are calling the families of inpatients to notify them of the situation and giving them a contact number in case they have questions.

Because our fire suppression system is on a separate water supply line, the sprinkler heads are still in operation.

“Our back-up infrastructure gives us about a four-day supply of water,” said Russell E. Lloyd, Acting Director for Central Texas Veterans Health Care System. “The contractor tells us the repair should be completed by Thursday, but we do have alternate plans to provide adequate water for the operation of the facility if the city connection is not restored.”

Employees are utilizing priorities for water usages. First priority is patient care wards and basic patient care needs followed by critical building equipment, other clinical activities, pharmacy, supply, and personnel.

The Facts:
On April 15, 2014, the contractor connecting the new water tower on the Waco Campus broke the City of Waco water main connection coming into the Campus. The contractor anticipated having the break repaired by 10 p.m. the same day but discovered another break that needed repairing and required a part to be ordered from Dallas.

As of April 16, 2014, the part has arrived, and completion of the repair is estimated for mid-day April 17, 2014.

The water from the tower is safe for consumption and is estimated to provide a four-day supply of water.

In case the repair takes longer than anticipated, bottled water has been staged to further help conserve water and Fort Hood is on standby to truck in water to fill the tower.



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