Amarillo prison units under water restrictions

Amarillo prison units under water restrictions

Amarillo, TX - One small mistake by Amarillo city workers turned into a rather large issue for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

While putting a tap in a waterline for a new customer near both units of the state prison, city workers made an error. Their machine became misaligned, causing water to break out and pressure to drop significantly.

City of Amarillo Director of Utilities, Emmett Autrey says there was one area specifically affected.

"The prison units were affected and when we shut the water down in order to extract our machine, that would shut the valve that feeds the prison," said Autrey.

Officials at the correctional facilities took action when it was realized that the water pressure had dropped significantly and placed them on a water boil notice.

Director of Public Information for the TDCJ, Jason Clark says there are various steps to ensure workers and offenders have clean water.

"We've brought in two 2,500 gallon tanker trucks full of water and those are on site now. So, staff and offenders can utilize those for drinking water and we're also boiling the water as well," said Clark.

Clark adds that this situation is something they plan for in case it does come up.

The city has already taken samples of the water to test and should have results before noon on Friday and Clark says he is pleased with the way corrections staff has handled the situation.

"Our staff was able to respond quickly and also coordinate with our maintenance to ensure that we were able to get those samples out and get those tested pretty quick and then also to be able to get those trucks in," said Clark.

Autrey says no other areas in Amarillo have been affected by the issue.

Pressure has been restored and offenders are able to use showers and toilets.

If the tests come back and show contamination, Clark tells us they will continue running as they are now. However they do anticipate it will be clear.