Water wells shut down after breaks

EAST PALESTINE- The frozen temperatures earlier this week have left the village of East Palestine without running water.

Residents are urged to conserve water until further notice after several waterline breaks occurred throughout the village, which resulted in the village shutting the wells down around 8 a.m. Saturday in an effort to conserve water.

Village water and wastewater foreman John Jurjavcic first noticed something was wrong during a routine check Saturday.

“With it being cold, we checked all week,” Jurjavcic said. “I came in around 6:30 this morning and there were no problems. Then I came back at 8, and the reading was extremely low, and so we had to shutdown the wells.”

No flooding was reported in the village. and it is unclear how much water was lost. Jurjavcic acknowledges, though, that some residents phoned in to report low water pressure throughout the week.

“Some people called in saying their water pressure was low,” Jurjavcic said. “A couple people said their water was down. One said his sprinkler system wasn’t working.”

The water department monitored the wells at the beginning of the week as the sub-zero temperatures covered the area and eventually caused a meter to malfunction.

“When it got cold Monday, we were looking at the meter readings,” Jurjavcic said. “The meter froze and didn’t give us an accurate reading. After it thawed, it worked fine.”

During that time, the water levels recorded appeared to stay consistent as the weather started to warm up on Wednesday, and up until the break on Saturday, nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary.

“After it got warmer Wednesday, I checked again and everything seemed to work out fine,” Jurjavcic said. “There weren’t any problems with it on Thursday and Friday. I even checked at 6:30 this morning, and it was all working fine.”

After the shutdown, personnel from the village water department, along with McKay and Gould Drilling and Duncan Brothers of East Palestine began working to fix the problem.

“We were able to get McKay and Gould as well as Duncan Brothers,” Jurjavcic said. “You have to give them credit, they have been working really hard here.”

Help may also be available from outside village limits as Lisbon, Leetonia and New Waterford have also offered their services if needed.

“Other communities have offered to help us out,” Jurjavcic said. “They have offered to help us if things got worse, and we appreciate that.”

In the meantime, bottled water and non-potable water is available at the fire station on East Clark Street for residents who need water.

“We received shipments of bottled water this morning from Walmart,” Jurjavcic said. “People are able to come to the fire department and pick up the water to use.”

A boil alert is also in effect for those who use the non-potable water. The alert will remain in effect once the water is restored.

“We want everyone just to be on the safe side when using the water for bathing and those who need to use the bathroom,” Jurjavcic said.

The water department is unsure just how long it will take to fix the problem but Jurjavcic assured residents that all steps are being taken to get water service back very soon.

“We’re working to get the matter fixed, but for now we just need everyone to be patient,” Jurjavcic said. “It’s going to be difficult, but we’re getting there.”