Update (Aug. 25 at 12:30 p.m.): The story has been updated with a statement from the City of Dallas.
Update (Aug. 25 at 3 p.m.): The story has been updated with information from Atmos Energy about the effects of the gas leak.
Update (Aug. 25 at 5 p.m.): Neighbors are still without water.
Editor’s note: Water was restored to homeowners late Aug. 26.
Water and gas lines near Abrams Road and Richmond were hit during construction work.
Neighbor and president of the Lakewood Neighborhood Association Ryan Boyd said crews were doing some kind of concrete work near the intersection. Atmos Energy confirmed the construction, though unrelated to Atmos, was happening at 2221 Abrams Road. During the construction, machinery clipped the water line. And in attempting to repair the water line, the gas line was hit.
A little past 7 p.m. Tuesday, he and other neighbors realized they lost water. When water had not returned by Wednesday morning, Boyd walked to the construction site. The roads were closed off, and Boyd could see several Atmos trucks and heavy machinery. He heard a loud hissing noise. At first, he thought it was water, but he then realized it was gas leaking from the ground.
Boyd was able to speak with one of the construction workers who told him what had happened and that the repairs should be complete by the end of the day.
Atmos issued a precautionary evacuation of a business and residence. The company also said in an email to the Advocate neighbors should seek a different route to avoid traffic.
This situation brought up some neighbors’ frustrations with the City of Dallas. Boyd said the communication between the city and neighbors is lacking. He also noted that the Dallas Water Utilities office is only open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays. For emergencies, 311 is a 24-hour line, but Boyd said he had to wait 10-15 minutes to speak with someone about the problem.
Below is a statement from the City of Dallas:
“311 has experienced longer than usual wait times due to malfunctions with the department’s call center software, phone network failures and pandemic staffing challenges. Software and technology issues will be addressed when all-new call center software is deployed by ITS, expected to occur on/before September 30th. 311 also continues to recruit and hire Customer Service Agents weekly to help fill vacancies. In addition, 311 staff is available 24/7/365 for Dallas Water Utilities customers to report leaks or issues with their service and dispatches DWU field crews as soon as reports of leaks or issues are received.”
The Advocate has reached out to the City of Dallas for a response and more information about the construction work. Check back for updates.