Garner ISD

Garner ISD, along with Mineral Wells and Millsap ISDs, won't return to in-person learning until at least Wednesday due to water issues.

Mineral Wells said its system sustained water main breaks overnight Sunday, resulting in low water pressure and tank levels.

The city’s treatment plant was still experiencing equipment failure, and several leaks were found over the weekend, adding to the stressed condition of the water system.

“Basically, between demand and what we lose in breaks, it overcomes what we can deliver to town,” City Manager Randy Criswell said. “The breaks are being repaired, or isolated, as quickly as they can, but when you add it up, it pulls a lot of water off the system.”

The city is waiting on a new water pump, which would take care of the problem and return functions back to normal. The backup pump that is running now is delivering water to town, but is not big enough to exceed the demand.

“We have reason to believe it could be as soon, possibly within the next day or two,” Criswell said, noting that a firm date has not been identified. “We’re cautiously optimistic.”

In the meantime, residents remain under a boil water notice, and are urged to conserve water and limit any non-essential activities, including laundry or dish washing.

“We’ve pretty much done everything we can with what we’ve got, but we are still in a very fragile place,” Criswell said. “We are asking people to continue to be understanding. I commend our citizens because I think people, even though they may not be happy, generally recognize that we could.”

Criswell added that the city will continue to update its residents on the water status on the Mineral Wells website, mineralwellstx.gov.

Mineral Wells ISD was closed for in-person learning Monday and Tuesday due to the situation. Millsap ISD was closed Monday and announced remote-only learning on Tuesday. Garner ISD was closed for in-person and remote learning Monday and Tuesday. Millsap and Garner communities operate off of the North Rural Water Supply, a wholesale customer of the city.

“As Mineral Wells still has leaks and repairs they are diligently working on, our system is being limited,” according to a post Monday morning by North Rural on the company’s Facebook page. “Please keep in mind that the water and pressure may come and go.”

Mineral Wells ISD Superintendent John Kuhn said students could return to school if the city’s boil water notice is lifted.

“If the boil water notice is not lifted, our current plan is that we will shift to 100% remote learning on Wednesday, and we will stay on 100% remote learning until the boil water notice is rescinded,” he said. “This plan could change if we are able to come up with a suitable hand-washing solution and a guaranteed supply of fresh drinking water for students and staff.”

 Garner ISD Superintendent Rebecca Hallmark said the district has water now, but because of the boil notice, is unable to hold normal classes.

Hallmark and staff were at the campus early Monday morning to prepare to open the doors to students and families in need of meals or a hot shower.

“We’ve been extremely concerned about our students being at home for this many days with no access to water and power,” Hallmark said. “We’ve opened up our locker rooms [for showers] and are delivering meals and having meal pick ups for those that can.

“We had a few kids come in today who don’t have water in their homes and the parents needed to go to work.”

The district provides lessons and activities to students who need to come in during the day.

Garner ISD was able to a pallet of water from Parker County Precinct 1 with help from Emergency Management Coordinator Sean Hughes, and board members and those in the community helped unload it inside the school’s gymnasium Sunday so families could have access to bottled water.

“Seven days is a long time to go without water and some of these families are now going on eight,” Hallmark said. “It’s been difficult. We’re hoping to get back to school on Wednesday, but that will depend on leaks and lines.”

The district also lost power for part of last week, but thanks to its partnership with Bethesda United Methodist Church, was also able to get food deliveries out to families that needed it.

“We’re blessed in Parker County,” Hallmark said. “I feel like the people just kind of pull together any time there’s a need here and it’s really noticeable.”

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