Construction That Broke Vital Water Main Was Not Approved - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Construction That Broke Vital Water Main Was Not Approved

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(KCEN) – Records at the Bell County Engineers Office indicate that the construction crew that broke a vital, Central Texas water main didn’t have approval to be there at all.

An estimated 29 million gallons of precious water was lost, Fort Hood partially shut down, and on Tuesday several cities remained under boil water notices.

A Purser Construction crew allegedly crossed into a 50 ft. wide easement belonging to Bell County Water District #1 Sunday before bursting the giant pipe open.

Now there is question as to whether the company that owns the Shilo Terrace Subdivision took the proper steps before breaking ground.

One of those steps for a project, like the one at Shilo Terrace, is getting approval from local jurisdictions.

“If you're in the extra territorial jurisdiction, (ETJ), of a city, then you would not only coordinate with the county engineer, but also with the city whose ETJ you might be in,” said Bell County Engineer Michael Jahns.

Shilo Terrace is in Temple’s ETJ, so both the City of Temple and Bell County must give construction there the thumbs up.

When another Bell County Engineer Office staff member pulled up the mapping department's ID number associated with that plot of land, he said it only shows preliminary plans from the owner and that those plans have not been approved.

Shilo Terrace is owned by Cavco Industries.

Cavco Industries staff was not aware of the incident at all until receiving a call from KCEN Tuesday and decided not to comment for that reason.

Before any construction project can begin, crews are required to call 811, which checks for underground pipelines among other things.

An 811 spokesperson says only Purser Construction can confirm whether not that happened.

Purser Construction is not commenting at this time.

Water District #1 General Manager Jerry Atkinson said Tuesday that he is through crisis mode and into investigation mode.

“Someone will pay. What I can guarantee is that the taxpayers won’t pay for it,” said Atkinson.

He says he is working on coordinating land excavation training sessions with construction companies, the water district, and related organizations.

Reporter: Sophia Stamas sstamas@kcent.com  

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