A break in the water line of a state prison in north Texas has left an entire community of 6000 people without access to clean water. Sanders Estes Unit is a state prison, owned by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice but managed by a private company called Management and Training Corporation. Last week, the management company learned that there was a break in the water line on the property — but not before 200,000 gallons of water were siphoned off from the local water source that serves the nearby town of Venus, Texas.
"We found out Monday morning [that] they let it go all weekend, just running. And doing that with the amount of water that we had that main water tower — they drained it," he said. "They've got a ton of water all over the ground."
The water line break being untended for so long rendered the city-owned utility without enough pressure to run. Residents of the small city south of Fort Worth were left suffering as a result.
Gazaway noted that the only other damage that the prison has caused was in wastewater. He said the volume of irregular objects being flushed down the toilet in the facility had damaged pumps — at times shutting down a nearby pumping station. The congestion — possibly caused by contraband — convinced the city to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in new pumps.
Inside Sanders Estes, the water was off for the better part of two days. Inmates have been complaining to family members that they haven't been able to shower or get enough to drink.
According to Venus' Director of Public Works, this actually isn't the first time the prison has accidentally drained the town's water supply, either.
What's that saying? None of us are free as long as some of us are in cages and the prison industrial complex can just rob innocent people of their natural resources? Something like that.
North Texas state prison drains nearby town's water [Paul Flahive / KERA News]