Anna recovering from water emergency

By Joshua Baethge
For the Anna-Melissa Tribune
Winter weather may have looked pretty, but it wreaked havoc on the Anna water supply.

The city of Anna announced Feb. 21 that the water supply was once again safe to drink and cook with.  This after a week of power outages and water supply issues brought on by a powerful winter storm.

On Feb. 15, the city issued a local disaster declaration due to continued power loss to critical infrastructure.  That included the police station, fire station, city hall and utility systems. Cellphone and internet service were also interrupted for many, and solid waste removal disposal services were interrupted.  

Around 2 p.m. that day, Mayor Nate Pike advised that the city bean receiving reports that water pressure across Anna was falling. Many residents did not have any water at all. Rolling power outages caused water storage tank levels to plummet.  

The city deployed mobile generators to the pumps, but even they could not fully keep them going. Pike, City Manager Jim Proce and others on the city staff then reached out to local power companies, elected officials, and state agencies asking them to do everything in their power to keep power going to critical facilities.

“I know this is extremely frustrating to our community,” Pike said at the time. “I assure you we will not stop working until this is resolved.”

While power began returning to pump stations, It would still take days for water service to fully return. This meant that the city then had to find a way to deliver clean water to those who couldn’t get it.  A bottled water distribution site was established at the public works building. This continued daily for the rest of the week 

Winter weather may have looked pretty, but it wreaked havoc on the Anna water supply.

Water pressure began slowly returning close to normal levels on Feb. 17. Widespread rolling blackouts had begun to subside by that point, though more than 150,000 across the region were still in the dark. As water returned, the issue of bursting pipes became more of a concern.  While city facilities escaped largely unscathed, many residents weren’t as lucky.  

Finally, on Feb. 19, Pike was able to report that water pressure had fully returned across town and all hydrants seemed to have water once again.

Looking back Monday after the boil notice had been lifted, Pike said that he couldn’t express the level of gratitude he had for city employees.  While there was still much work to do, he said that he felt “blessed” to live in Anna.

“This team works together, they never complain, and always strive for excellence in service to our Neighbors,” he said. “The level of dedication they have for our community was on full display and I’m thankful for each of them. If you see a city employee this week, please thank them for their service to Anna. As recovery continues and we start a new week, I want to thank our entire community for your generosity, kindness, patience, and willingness to help one another during this crisis.”