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Austin Water battens down the hatches

Monday, November 22, 2021 by Tai Moses

Austin Water isn’t leaving anything to chance this winter. The utility is being proactive in its efforts to protect the city’s three water treatment plants from potential freezing temperatures in case of another extreme weather event like … well, you know. Austin Water’s Winter Storm Uri After Action Report contained several recommendations for critical “resilience enhancements,” and staffers have already completed many of them. Storm damage from last February’s winter storm has been repaired and exposed pipes have been insulated; all three plants have stockpiled winter weather supplies such as heaters, sand and deicing fluid as well as emergency supplies for staff such as meals and cots; and the maintenance schedule at the plants has been modified to accommodate the need for increased water production in case of burst pipes. The utility’s operations manager, Stephanie Sue, explained that crews “have worked diligently to repair damage at our water treatment plants and strengthen our readiness for the winter season. These efforts began immediately following Winter Storm Uri and continue to be prioritized. We have learned from this year’s event and have taken action to be ready for future extreme weather.” If you’d like to see for yourself, check out this video of winterization efforts at the Ullrich water treatment plant.

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