Archive for Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Boil advisory remains in place; schools closed

January 4, 2006

Although repairs have been made and a steady supply of water is available in Baldwin City, a boil advisory remains in place and will until at least Thursday afternoon, according to City Administrator Jeff Dingman. Baldwin School District Supt. James White canceled school for Thursday as a result.

Baldwin's water supply from Lawrence was lost Sunday afternoon and wasn't restored until about 4 p.m. Tuesday. A leak was discovered Sunday afternoon just south of Lawrence and was fixed. When the valve was turned back on after repairs, a bushing inside the valve evidently broke and city crews were unaware of that, Dingman said.

"A bushing in the valve broke," he said. "They thought it was open, but it wasn't."

The warning system that monitors Baldwin's two water towers also malfunctioned, Dingman said. The system is supposed to set off an alarm when water levels in the towers get to 10 feet. That didn't happen and the problem wasn't discovered until about 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The boil advisory issued from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is for water used for drinking and cooking. Tests have yet to be done to determine if the water is contaminated with bacteria. Those tests were done Wednesday afternoon and results should be available Thursday afternoon, he said.

"KDHE calls it an advisory," said Dingman. "No contaminates have been found. If they are found, it would be a boil order."

Baker University officials decided to close the campus at 3 p.m. Tuesday because of the water problems.

"Because of a shortage of water in campus facilities, Baker's main campus was closed," said Baker Spokesman Steve Rottinghaus.

Baker classes resumed Wednesday. White said schools in Baldwin will be closed because of the need of sanitary water. He doesn't know if school will resume Friday.

The Signal will update the Web site as additional information is available. This week's issue of the Signal has a complete story and is available at locations throughout the city, including Baldwin City Market and Santa Fe Market. News racks are located in front of the Signal office, 703 High St., and the post office, as well as other locations.

The complete water boiling advisory is:

1. Boiling procedure: Bring water to a vigorous rolling boil and sustain boiling for a minimum of one minute. Boiling longer than three minutes may adversely affect the quality and taste of the water.

2. Use only boiled water for drinking, diluting fruit juices, and all other food preparation.

3. Dispose of ice cubes and do not use ice from a household automatic icemaker. Remake ice cubes with water that has been boiled.

4. Disinfect dishes and other food contact surfaces by immersion for a least one minute in clean tap water that contains one teaspoon of unscented household bleach per gallon of water.

5. Water used for bathing does not generally need to be boiled. Supervision of children is necessary while bathing or using backyard pools so that water is not ingested. Persons with cuts or severe rashes may wish to consult their physicians.

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