Water District GM: Vital Main Broken On Its Own Easement - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Water District GM: Vital Main Broken On Its Own Easement

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(KCEN) – The general manager for Bell County Water District #1 plans to look into how and why the water main that so many depend on in Central Texas, including Fort Hood, was broken on the district’s own property.

Over the weekend, a Purser Construction crew was working on a housing development when a vital pipe burst open, spilling an estimated 29 million gallons of precious water.

Monday Jerry Atkinson with Water District #1 told KCEN that it happened on the district's side of the easement and that the construction crew allegedly crossed over the boundary.

“The question for us now is why, if they knew they were crossing the easement, or whether they knew it was there,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson also says he briefly saw a copy of the easement Sunday but that it didn't show much.

KCEN HD News Reporter Sophia Stamas obtained Bell County records of the original 1940’s transfer deed, which turned the property over from the federal government to local water authorities.

The old easement contains no maps or pictures clarifying the boundaries, although it's not clear whether the construction crew had some sort of survey.

Atkinson says he’s very grateful and appreciative to the construction crew for working at his team’s side through the hot day and long night to respond to the disaster.

"People make mistakes, but we ourselves will get to the bottom of it,” said Atkinson.

Office staff at Purser Construction could not put KCEN in touch with anyone at the company Monday.

Regarding its requirements for developers prior to breaking ground, a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, (TCEQ), spokesperson writes, “In accordance with 30 TAC §290.39 (h), plans and specifications are required to be submitted to the TCEQ for review and approval for any new construction in a public water system. The plans and specifications must be approved prior to construction. Upon completion of the water works project, the engineer or owner shall notify the executive director in writing as to its completion and attest to the fact that the completed work is substantially in accordance with the plans and change orders on file with the commission in accordance with 30 TAC §290.39 (h)(3).”

The TCEQ representative would not say whether those requirements had been met by Purser Construction or how often water mains break due to developers crossing easement lines.

She said some answers were withheld due to the fact that an investigation has not taken place.

Reporter: Sophia Stamas sstamas@kcentv.com

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