Hampton Utility District customers under boiled water alert following outage

Published 5:14 pm Friday, April 29, 2016

Water Boil Alert
Many residents served by the Hampton Utility District awoke Friday to an unpleasant surprise when they tried to turn on their faucets as a majority of the utility’s customers lost water service due to ruptured valve in the main pump house and customers are now being advised to boil their water.
The equipment failure happened during the early morning hours according to Hampton Utility District Office Manager Linda Guy.
“Our first call came in around 3 a.m. to the answering machine,” Guy said.
A valve in the main pump house, located on Main Street in Hampton, ruptured and the water flowed out of the pump house for approximately one hour. The flowing water drained distribution lines and both of the main storage tanks located off of Rittertown Road, Guy said.
“The two utility employees turned the water off and repaired the problem by around 5:40 a.m. to begin pumping the water,” she said. The utility’s water pressure for the system had dropped to zero but by around 10 a.m. enough water had returned to the system to restore 140 pounds of water pressure.
However, because the storage tanks had been drained and needed to be completely refilled many customers may still be experiencing low water pressure and potentially other issues, Guy said.
“The utility has issued a boiled water alert,” Guy said. “We issued this for caution until the sample results come in as a negative.”
When water pressure is lost and lines are drained, Guy said this can allow air, sediment and other debris to be back siphoned into the water system.
“Air makes the water cloudy and debris makes it discolored,” she said.
Back siphonage also increases the chance that bacteria can enter the water with the debris, which is another reason for the boiled water alert. Guy said the utility has already begun disinfection measures and will conduct bacteriological testing on water samples to ensure the safety of the water supply. The boil water alert will be lifted once test results show no bacteria presence in the water.
Guy estimated it could takes a long as three days for the tanks and lines to refill and water pressure to return to normal for all customers. She said she also anticipated the water boil alert could last that same amount of time. The utility will alert the media when the water boil has been lifted or if other announcements need to be made, Guy said.
Because the utility’s entire water supply was depleted, Guy said the utility is asking customers to conserve water usage over the next few days as the tanks refill.
The Hampton Utility District serves approximately 1,500 customers and Guy estimated as many as 1,000-1,200 were affected by Friday morning’s water outage. In addition to the effects on local residents, the Carter County school system cancelled school at Hampton Elementary and Hampton High Schools on Friday due to the lack of water.

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