By Millicent Martin Emery
Water main breaks have led to many hours in the cold for local workers, and some restaurant and school closures after boil advisories were issued Sunday.
Centerville was placed under a boil advisory shortly before 12 a.m. Monday after water main breaks at Second Street near the bank and in the 400 block of Plum. Residents who live within West Main to West Walnut from South Ash to South Morton Avenue were urged to boil water for human consumption for at least 12 minutes until further notice.
All residents are being urged to bring their water for human consumption to a rolling boil for at least 5 minutes until 2 p.m. Jan. 17.
Doug Young, public works superintendent for Cambridge City, issued the boil order after discovering a major water main break in one of the town’s main transmission lines.
An alarm went off at 1:16 p.m. Sunday to alert Young and his employees about the issue. Young said it was apparent the town had lost a lot of water out of its tower and the pump was not keeping up.
He called in workers at 1:30 p.m., and they were on the job all night, with work wrapping up about 10 a.m. Monday.
A leak was found in the first block of West Church Street, and workers started shutting down valves. Most of the town’s valves were put into the ground in 1955 when the system was updated, Young said.
Young said employees were concerned there might be multiple breaks Sunday because of multiple calls reporting low water pressure, but discovered they were all from the Church Street leak.
However, Young encourages residents to report any reduction in water pressure or visible water leaks to (765) 478-3522 or (765) 478-5611 because it’s common to have more main breaks after one is reported.
Once workers exposed the main, they realized a crack was going across the top of the main approximately 8 to 10 feet in length. Young said those kinds of cracks are rare.
Cambridge City enlisted the help of Culy Contracting in Winchester for an immediate response. Young said Culy has larger equipment than what the town has to tackle the work.
They were able to take the cracked section out and put a new one in the ground.
Although the repair area has been covered over and surrounded by barricades, work remains for town officials to ensure water safety.
Anytime the water pressure drops below 20 PSI, the town is required to issue a boil order.
Young said he was hoping to keep the boil order just to the east side of town, but when they started getting complaints about water pressure as far west as Mount Auburn, they realized the boil order needed to include the whole town.
Because of the break happening on a Sunday, it made spreading the word more difficult, but Young contacted local media and spread the word on social media as well.
“Social media is a great way to get that information out there,” he said.
After repairs were made, water samples were taken Monday morning to HML in Muncie, Ind. for testing. It takes 24 hours for each test. The town will deliver another water sample Tuesday morning to Muncie with hopes of it passing Wednesday morning so residents can resume normal water usage Wednesday afternoon.
In the meantime, residents can use unboiled tap water for bathing or household chores, he said.
The Gateway Industrial Park is on a separate water line and is unaffected by the boil advisory, Young said.