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Articles by Pooja Salhotra, The Texas Tribune

Pooja Salhotra joined the Tribune in 2022 as its first-ever East Texas reporter. Based in Lufkin, she covers a vast region that borders three states and stretches north to Texarkana and south to Beaumont.

Featured Article

Tom Bailey flushes out a water line in Zavalla, one of many Texas cities grappling with aging water infrastructure.

This story was originally published by the Texas Tribune and is republished with permission. This article is part of a series published by The Texas Tribune examining the state’s deteriorating water infrastructure.

Tom Bailey had just finished his morning routine of checking the town’s three water well sites when he got a call from a resident: Water was coming out of the road.

Bailey, public works director for this small, East Texas town, hopped in his pickup truck and drove to the scene on a bumpy road that sits behind the high school.

The entire road was wet.

“Water was just boiling up in the middle of the road,” Bailey said. “Not normal. Not normal at all.”

As water continued to flow down the street, Bailey and Cody Day, a water operator who works under Bailey, jumped back in the truck and drove into town to pick up a mini excavator from storage. They returned and dug into the ground to find the water source: a leaking pipe.

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