Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Harvey-ravaged Texas city struggles to restore water service

Published:Saturday | September 2, 2017 | 4:35 PM
Juan Banda removes flooded carpeting from a home in the aftermath of Harvey Saturday, in Houston. - AP

HOUSTON (AP):
A Texas city that lost its drinking water system to Harvey struggled Saturday to restore service, and firefighters kept monitoring a crippled chemical plant that has twice been the scene of explosions and fires since the storm roared ashore and stalled over Texas more than a week ago.

Officials in Beaumont, population almost 120,000, worked to repair their water treatment plant, which failed after the swollen Neches River inundated the main intake system and backup pumps failed. The Army Corps of Engineers sent pumps, and an ExxonMobil team built and installed a temporary intake pipe in an effort to refill a city reservoir. Exxon has a refinery and chemical plants in Beaumont.

On Friday, people waited in a line that stretched for more than a mile to get bottled water.

In Crosby, outside of Houston, authorities continued to monitor the Arkema plant where three trailers of highly unstable compounds ignited in recent days, sending thick black smoke and tall flames into the air. A Harris County fire marshal spokeswoman said Saturday that there were no active fires at the facility, but six more trailers were being watched.

The soggy and battered city of Houston began burying its dead and taking steps toward the long recovery ahead. The school district said up to 12,000 students would be sent to different schools because of flood-damaged buildings.

The storm that is blamed for at least 43 deaths is believed to have damaged at least 156,000 dwellings in Harris County, which includes the nation's fourth-largest city.