Douglas prison experiences water issue

What is being described as a water leak at the Arizona State Prison Complex north of Douglas has been repaired.

According to Andrew Wilder, public information office for the Department of Corrections, the low water issue began Friday.

The DOC issued a statement via Twitter Saturday afternoon stating, “ASPC-Douglas is currently experiencing low water pressure due to an issue with the municipal water system. Cochise County crews are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Water lines will be temporarily shut off while this work occurs. Prison personnel have distributed bottled water to all inmates and portable sanitation stations are onsite for use as needed. Updates will be provided.”

Later that same evening another tweet was issued indicating repair work has been successfully completed and water service to the prison had been restored.

Sunday evening a press release was sent out stating the state prison complex in Douglas was once again experiencing a temporary disruption in its water service.

“After repair work completed late Saturday by Cochise County crews, and water flow was initially restored, it was soon again intermittent and pressure has been unacceptably low,” the press release states. “ADC has been advised that county crews are conducting work on their wells in order to permanently restore water service to the prison complex.”

The press release noted that as a result of the continued disruption, ADC kept its contingency measures activated to ensure there is continuous access to drinking water and sanitation for all inmates, visitors, and employees.

Those measures included:

• Bottled water continuously being provided to inmates, visitors, and employees this weekend. Currently, the complex has nearly 20,000 individual water bottles onsite which are being distributed as needed.

• While some of the inmate housing units have running drinking water for use, each inmate housing area is equipped with water coolers that are continuously filled with clean drinking water from a certified source and transportation truck.

• Inconsistent water flow/low pressure into the prison complex requires the use of portable toilets, which have been in place and positioned throughout the complex that have been serviced daily; more are being delivered soon to accommodate continued use.

• Portable sanitation/wash stations also continue to be used onsite.

• Much of the prison is A/C cooled. However, in areas with evaporative cooling, crews are manually filling them to maintain environmental conditions in the housing units and visitation area.

“Throughout the weekend, prison personnel have maintained continuous communication with the inmate population about the situation. Inmates have been cooperative and good spirits, and without incident,” the release states. “ADC greatly appreciates the urgent efforts by Cochise County to resolve the situation and restore full water service to the prison complex. Additionally, we truly appreciate the patience and understanding shown by our inmates, their families, and our employees while this situation is permanently addressed.”

Late Monday Cochise County officials said normal water services to the state prison complex have resumed following the repair of the leak by Cochise County.

The County provides water to the prison via a well located at the adjacent Bisbee Douglas International Airport.

County crews responded to an initial water supply issue late Friday afternoon, following a reported water outage. After bringing the system back on line, a leak was discovered. Crews located the leak this afternoon, repaired it, and resumed the prison’s water supply.

Staff will remain on site throughout the night and will continue to monitor the situation. Emergency water tankers will remain in place until Tuesday afternoon.

“We can confirm that water is again flowing and pressure has been restored in all inmate housing units,” Wilder said late Monday evening. “Inmates can resume use of sinks, toilets, showers and laundry facilities. … ADC will keep contingency measures in place in case any further issues arise.”

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