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Rockport joins cities Austin is helping

Friday, September 8, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Ten to 15 electricians and water and wastewater pipeline operators from Austin Water Utility have gone to Rockport to assist the coastal city in recovering from the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Harvey. On Thursday, City Council approved a measure authorizing staff to negotiate and execute a mutual aid agreement between Austin and Rockport that will allow Austin to be reimbursed for its expenditures. Austin has entered into similar agreements with Houston and Victoria. Rockport’s water and sewer systems were heavily damaged when the hurricane made a direct hit there on Aug. 26. Ginny Guerrero of Austin Water said the city received a request from Rockport through the Texas Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network to help Rockport get its water and wastewater system back into service. San Antonio Water System had been assisting with the effort in Rockport for several days, Guerrero said. Rockport lost electrical power and its wastewater collection system and water distribution systems were knocked out. Guerrero said after four or five days a new crew would be relieving the Austin Water crew that left on Wednesday. Rockport’s Mayor C.J. Wax told residents on the city’s website on Wednesday, “We have installed generators along major lift stations throughout the City. This will allow us to get back to full operation once the power is restored. In the meantime we ask that you NOT use your toilets at this time.” He also said that power to residents and businesses is expected to be restored at 10 p.m. on Friday. There is a boil water advisory in place and Wax is encouraging residents who are not in Rockport not to return yet. There is a special City of Rockport Employee Relief Fund. The fund “was set up for those employees who went directly to work when evacuation was ordered and didn’t have time to shore up their house or pack their belongings,” according to the mayor. Donations can be sent c/o First Community Bank, 1629 Highway 35 N. Rockport, TX 78382.

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