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City gives update on water crisis

Some water restored, boil order remains in effect

June 12, 2011
By ANGELINA DICKSON - Staff writer (adickson@weirtondailytimes.com) , Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON - Most of the residents in Weirton continue to suffer from severe water loss as crews continue to work to stabilize the city's water system.

Weirton Area Water Board officials said the main water line supplying the city of Weirton with drinking water broke at the treatment plant requiring extensive repairs. City officials said crews worked through the night on Friday and into Saturday morning to make the necessary repairs to the line break causing the massive water loss throughout the city.

Saturday morning, City Manager Gary DuFour said water crews and contractors worked diligently through the night and into the morning to repair the line break at the water plant and have had success. Some residents at lower elevations have basic water service, he said, but full restoration will not be instant. It is expected to take several days to restore service throughout the city.

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Weirton residents gathered as many containers as possible and stood in line at the water distribution site located near the Weirton Fire Department Headquarters in the Municipal Plaza while crews continued to work on the water line failure at the city's water plant. Other distribution locations include Gilson Avenue Fire Station, County Road Fire Station, Marland Heights Fire Station and Weir High School. -- Angelina Dickson

"We are asking residents to bear in mind that if you do have water restored, we have not got our system back to the point of having adequate storage and supply for all uses. It will be necessary for all water used for drinking and cooking purposes to be boiled and a boil order has been issued indefinitely," said DuFour.

By Saturday, the number of water distribution sites had been expanded to five locations: Fire Department Headquarters, Gilson Avenue Fire Station, Marland Heights Fire Station, County Road Fire Station and Weir High School. Residents must bring their own containers. DuFour said the water distribution sites will be in place for at least the next 72 hours and beyond if necessary.

Utilities Director Butch Mastrantoni said water began to be pumped through the lines at 12:30 a.m. Saturday. He said the normal pump curve of water on the line providing water to Weirton is 105 pounds per square inch to 125 pounds per square inch but is currently operating at 100 pounds per square inch. At 100 psi the patch is holding and crews are working to get the system back to normal, he added.

If the patch continues to hold, Mastrantoni said once it reaches the normal operating range, higher amounts of services will continue to be introduced into the system. If the pipe plug holds, he said it could serve as a long-term permanent fix.

"We are cautiously optimistic at this time but we are not 100 percent out of the woods yet," he said. "With each passing minute we become a little bit more stable."

Mastrantoni said those living in the lower parts of the city have seen some water restoration and sanitary use of water should be used as necessary, but residents should refrain from all elective uses.

Captain Bob Hinchee said arrangements can be made to assist anyone that is homebound or ill and unable to get out to get water. He said if others are available to assist those residents, please utilize those individuals as city resources remain thin.

DuFour said residents are encouraged not to hoard water because it will only slow things down as restoration continues. He said the cities of New Cumberland, Follansbee and Wellsburg have offered resources, along with Chesapeake Energy to buy bottled water and water supplies. He said ArcelorMittal has offered to be available for any and all resources they can provide as well.

Residents of Weirton and those living in areas supplied by the Brooke County Public Service District and Oakland Public Service District that purchase water from the Weirton Area Water Board must boil all drinking water until further notice. Water should be boiled for at least one minute and allowed to cool before using. Water used for sanitary and hygiene purposes does not need to be boiled before using.

(Dickson can be contacted at adickson@weirtondailytimes.com)

 
 

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