GREENSBURG — A ruptured water main near the old water treatment plant in the 1100 block of N. Ireland Street prompted local officials to issue a Boil Water Advisory late Monday morning.
The main break took place at approximately 9:30 a.m. and the advisory was issued about an hour later.
The problem resulted in Greensburg and North Decatur schools being dismissed at 1 p.m., and several local factories and businesses also had no choice but to send people home early.
“We were trying to cap off one of the lines to the old water plant. They cut a section of it out to install a water-stop valve and it blew the end of the line out,” said Greensburg Water Superintendent Rick Denney. “We had a 14-inch water main running wide open, depleting the towers. We have every high-service pump going that we have, thank God for the new plant!”
Denney said that the new plant was forced to increase their pressure to 4,000 gallons a minute to maintain residential service, but ultimately had to shut down the industrial and educational sections of the city’s service to maintain appropriate pressure to Decatur County Memorial Hospital and area nursing homes.
“They are our main focus right now,” Denney said midday Monday.
He went onto say that Cooley and O’Mara Construction Companies had been alerted and were en route to the site with two new hydra-stop machines to assess the damage and begin repair.
The burst line flooded the basement of the old water treatment facility as well as the intersection of N. Ireland and Fourth Street, a half block south of the newly finished water treatment plant.
Denney elected not to predict the time services would be restored, saying the Boil Water Advisory would be lifted as soon as the appropriate repairs were made and all safety protocols followed.
City officials said water pressure may be low in the meanwhile, and all hooked into the municipal utility should use water sparingly.
A Boil Water Advisory means your community’s water has, or could have, germs that can make you sick.
Advisories may include information about preparing food, drinks, or ice; dish washing; and hygiene, such as brushing teeth and bathing.
Boil Water Advisory Advice
Use bottled or boiled water for drinking, and to prepare and cook food.
If bottled water is not available, bring water to a full rolling boil for one minute. After boiling, allow the water to cool before use.
Boil tap water even if it is filtered (for example, by a home water filter or a pitcher that filters water).
Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water line such as ice and water from a refrigerator.
Breastfeeding is the best infant feeding option. If you formula feed your child, provide ready-to-use formula, if possible.
In many cases, you can use tap water and soap to wash hands during a Boil Water Advisory. Follow the guidance from your local public health officials.
Be sure to scrub your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Then, rinse them well under running water.
If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Bathing and Showering
Be careful not to swallow any water when bathing or showering.
Use caution when bathing babies and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water.
Brush teeth with boiled or bottled water. Do not use tap water that you have not boiled first.
If possible, use disposable plates, cups, and utensils during a Boil Water Advisory.
Household dishwashers generally are safe to use if:
The water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit (66°Celsius), or
The dishwater has a sanitizing cycle.
Sanitize all baby bottles.
To wash dishes by hand:
Wash and rinse the dishes as you normally would using hot water.
In a separate basin, add 1 teaspoon of unscented household liquid bleach for each gallon of warm water.
Soak the rinsed dishes in the water for at least one minute.
Let the dishes air dry completely before using again.
It is safe to wash clothes as usual.
Clean washable toys and surfaces with:
Boiled water, or
Water that has been disinfected with bleach.
Caring for pets
Pets can get sick from some of the same germs as people or spread germs to people. Give pets bottled water or boiled water that has cooled.
Garden and houseplants
You can use tap water for household plants and gardens.