By Dave Rogers / For The Record

 

The City of Orange was still in “rescue mode” Friday afternoon, but also crews were working hard on sewer and electric issues.

Most of the City of Orange’s 18,000 residents were still lacking electricity at midday Friday, two days after Tropical Storm Harvey dumped historic rainfall.

A 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew has been put into effect until further notice.

The good news is the water is safe to drink.

“Obviously, there was a tremendous amount of floodwater in downtown Orange, but it has been confirmed that our water supply is safe,” Jay Trahan, the assistant city manager, said.

The major wastewater treatment plant is down and will be out for a few more days.

“It had heavy floods as it was near to Adams Bayou and because of the amount of rain,” Trahan said. “We’re in it and working and doing the best we can to get it up and running.

“Part of the challenge is floodwaters must recede before we can energize it and get it back up.”

Wastewater lift stations throughout the city have also been affected by the storm water.

“That we’re working on as well, the combination of lift stations and the treatment center downtown,” Trahan said.

“Our goal is to get the whole city up and running. It’s going to take a few days.”

Because of high water left over from Tropical Storm Harvey and the flooding of Adams Bayou and the Sabine River, there are still parts of the city that haven’t been reached by city or electrical crews.

“Right now we’re still in rescue mode,” Trahan said. “We’re still going out assessing the areas of flooding where we can get to it.

“Some areas of the city, we can’t.”

High water has slowed down Entergy crews. Debbie Derrick of Entergy said Friday the utility company had begun using helicopters to bring additional workers from Beaumont to Orange County.

Still, there’s good news on the electric front.

“We have received word that all of the substations have checked out OK, and that the major feed line to the city is OK,” Trahan said.

“That’s encouraging, but the major challenge is the number of trees and utility poles that fell over and pulled down the lines. Crews will have to come in and clear the trees and repair the lines to get transmission back in place.”

Asked how long Entergy would need, Trahan said everyone was at the mercy of water.

“There’s no timeline,” he said. “They’re still working on the assessment, because there’s some areas they can’t get to yet.

“But we’re encouraged. The positive news is the substations have checked out and the main feed in to the city has checked out.

“We are encouraged that there’s been a good bit of drainage.”

To further safety, Trahan said the city has enacted a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice.