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West Gets $4.8 Million to Fix Water System

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News
A scene from West after the explosion on April 17, 2013.

The Texas town of West is getting $4.85 million more to help recover from the fertilizer plant explosion that happened one year ago this week. Fifteen people were killed and hundreds injured in the blast on April 17, 2013. 

Governor Perry authorized the funding a day before a ceremony to mark the first anniversary of the disaster. West Mayor Tommy Muska didn't question the timing of the grant.

"It shows a lot of cooperation between local, state and federal that we can come together and secure these funds within one day of the anniversary and move forward," Muska told KUT. 

A letter to Muska from the governorspecifies the money must be used to fix city water infrastructure damaged in the explosion. The city has to provide quarterly reports to the governor's office on how its spending the new grant in addition to a $3.2 million grant provided in August 2013. 

“We had a number of manholes collapse and we had some leaks in the pipes," Muska explained. "We secured that on a Band-Aid-type basis, knowing full well that we were going to need to replace large sections."

An hour-long memorial ceremony is scheduled for Thursday evening at 7:30 at the West Fair and Rodeo Grounds. A minute of silence will be observed at 7:51 p.m., the time at which the explosion occurred. Waco TV stationKWTX is planning to live-stream the event on its website. 

Correction: This article originally misspelled the name of West Mayor Tommy Muska. We've corrected the spelling. 

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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