About 4,000 customers impacted by line break must boil water

Updated:

NORTH HUNTINGDON TWP., Pa. —

Water should be back on Thursday afternoon — but it must be conserved and boiled — for about 4,000 customers in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties after a water main break, according to the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.

A break in a 30-inch transmission line along Route 993 in North Huntingdon has been repaired, and the line is being pressurized and filled with water, the authority said in a news release.

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Customers in the impacted areas should boil water until bacteriological test samples are completed. That 48-hour process started Thursday morning, authority spokeswoman Gina Cerilli said.

“It's a precautionary measure that we're taking until the test samples come back,” she said.

Residents in Cavittsville in North Huntingdon, Wall Borough, North Versailles Township and the South Trafford, Wallace Avenue and Brownstone Court areas in Trafford Borough “may be at increased risk for microbial contamination.”

The loss of positive water pressure means conditions “could allow contamination to enter the distribution system through back-flow by back-pressure or back-siphonage,” increasing the chance that water may contain “disease-causing organisms,” the authority said.

The water authority is thoroughly flushing the system to re-establish disinfectant residuals and then will take multiple bacteriological samples, Cerilli said.

The authority said affected customers should not drink the water without boiling it first. The water must be brought to a rolling boil for one minute, then cooled before using. Customers also could use bottled water. Customers should use boiled or bottled water for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth and food preparation until further notice, the authority advised.

Inadequately treated water may contain disease-causing organisms, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which can cause nausea, cramps, diarrhea and headaches.

Those with severely compromised immune systems, infants and some elderly people may be at increased risk. They should seek advice about drinking water from a health care provider.

Municipal authority crews had to repair three cracks in the water line after it was damaged in a landslide Tuesday afternoon. Part of a hillside fell onto the highway over the transmission line when Kesco Inc. of Butler set off an explosive charge above Route 993, the authority said.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or rskena@tribweb.com.