Water company under fire after homes flood in east Austin


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Several homes flooded, water softeners failed and pipes burst.

By midday Tuesday, plumbers were speeding out to Austin’s Colony neighborhood just east of State Highway 130, responding to all sorts of calls. 

At Lynn Locksey’s home on Menifee Street, water poured out the front door for hours before Lynn or her husband were able to get home to clean up. 

The same thing happened at Lisa Arriaga’s home on nearby Pevetoe Street, and at Diana Galindo’s home on Amy Francis Street.

By Wednesday the carpet at Locksey’s home had been ripped out and industrial fans sat humming in their place. 

“There was about an inch of water in here, maybe two,” Locksey said. “Right now we have probably about 20 fans going just to try and dry everything out.”

While the homes were flooding, a wet spot started to appear on Castleman Drive, just a few blocks down. Water appeared to seep right through the pavement. 

Ashley Trimpey noticed the pooling just as her water softener broke. 

“It’s not viable anymore and we will have to get a new one,” Trimpey said.

The flooding and equipment failures appear to have happened while SouthWest Water Company and its subsidiary Hornsby Bend water company were working on a tank inspection and cleaning in the neighborhood.

In a statement sent to KXAN the company said, “…this necessitated water to be shut off to less than 500 customers for approximately 30 minutes. Outside of this brief outage, we are unaware of any other issues related to our water system.”

A spokesperson further clarified, SouthWest Water Company doesn’t believe there is any connection between its crew’s work and the water damage.

Homeowner Nora Puente, whose main water line into her home also broke Monday morning, believes the company is ignoring the obvious.

“Something definitely had to have gone wrong,” she said. “This many homes, same time, same day, something happened and they need to take responsibility.”

The company said it fielded at least 17 calls after the water was shut off. 

The Public Utilities Commission of Texas oversees Southwest Water. Customers who are affected can file a complaint with the commission online or by phone at 1-888-782-8477.

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