The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Mathew Brock

Water service restored in Portales

Consumers encouraged to boil water until air pockets removed


September 8, 2019

Kevin Wilson

Commercial Street is closed with work at the intersection of Commercial and North Avenue E.

PORTALES — Water is flowing in Portales sinks again this morning after a Saturday night line break left the city with no water or low water pressure for more than 24 hours.

City Manager Sammy Standefer said the break occurred between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of Commercial Street and North Avenue E.

Standefer said the city is under an “optional boil” notice, meaning users may want to boil water for consumption as a safety precaution until air pockets have been removed from the system. That will take about 48 hours, according to a city news release.

A city news release read: "Extreme low pressure or no pressure occurrences such as those experienced during a water outage may increase the likelihood of microbiological contamination within the distribution system. Although no contamination has currently been detected as a result of this water outage, customers of Portales Water System are still encouraged to boil their water until further notice."

Standefer blamed the outage on “the usual problems” — pipeline he said was poorly installed 30 years ago and has continually caused outages in recent years. This weekend marked the second time in five years the city has been without water more than 24 hours; the sixth time in five years it's experienced a widespread outage.

“The system is wearing down,” he said. “Whoever initially installed it, placed it on bare rock, which is causing breakages.”

City officials the past several years have been installing isolation valves in an effort to prevent widespread outages, but most of the town was without water until late Sunday night after Saturday’s main break.

Standefer said about 5 miles of pipeline need to be replaced, but the city needs help with funding from the state and other government entities.

Multiple businesses and public entities, including Portales schools and courts, closed because of the water issues. Most were expected to reopen Monday or Tuesday.

Officials provided drinking water to residents who could bring their own containers on Sunday. Potable water was also delivered to Roosevelt General Hospital and the county jail on Sunday, Standefer said.


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