Water issues lead to closures, boil water notice

Jul. 11—A water service interruption in Sanford early Monday led to low water pressure throughout the city causing office closures and putting residents under a boil water advisory.

Systems at the Sanford Water Filtration Facility detected a leak in the system around 3 a.m. The break caused residents across Lee County to wake up without water or with extremely low water pressure.

Crews were dispatched to find and repair the issue. At around 8:30 a.m. crews located the issue and began work to make repairs.

According to city officials, the city's water tanks had to refill before water service was restored and many residents and businesses were without water for quite some time.

At around 10 a.m., the city issued a boil water notice due to a main line break. The periods of low or no pressure in the distribution system increases the potential for back siphonage and introduction of bacteria into the system. The city recommended that when water is restored to consumers that all water intended for human consumption be — this includes water for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and find preparation — or use of bottled water.

According to a city news release, boiling water for one minute should kill any disease -causing organisms that may be present in the water.

Businesses that were open in Sanford that had to boil water to satisfy their customers if they

could. It was an easy transition for those working at Mrs. Wenger's Restaurant.

The family-owned business reopened its doors Monday after being closed for vacation.

Mandy Moss, manager of the popular restaurant, said they first heard about the water issue from customers coming in saying they didn't have any water.

She said they responded quickly to the problem and began boiling water to use to cook their food.

"We boiled and boiled water," she said. "We boiled it to make coffee, grits, vegetables and everything else we serve. We're taking all the necessary precautions. We're good."

In a statement, Mayor Rebecca Wyhof Salmon also reaffirmed the city's mission regarding what had taken place.

"The City of Sanford's goal is to produce safe, high quality drinking water that is readily available

to all water consumers. Crews have been working diligently since 3 a.m. this morning to find the source of today's main break, restore water for our residents, and ensure the water is safe to drink. We urge all residents to follow the advisory protocol of boiling water for one minute before drinking or to use bottled water until the advisory is lifted. I am very proud of how the City of Sanford staff have worked together to find and address this concern while keeping resident safety a top priority."

All municipal offices and county facilities were closed for the day Monday. Lee County Government officials said that the San-Lee Day Camp was shut down once all children were picked up. The Sanford Fire Department said it had plans in place for needed water in the event of fire.

Lee County Libraries were also closed Monday morning and programs including Story Time at the Park at Lego Masters were canceled. Lee County Schools also canceled all of its programs including summer camps.

At Central Carolina Hospital, spokesman Clinton Weaver said the hospital experienced a temporary drop in water pressure, but there was no material impact on its operations or patient care.

Councilwoman Jean Dabbs, Ward 5, said she hadn't received any calls of concern from residents in her ward.

"I know when I went to work this morning they were encouraging everybody to work from home and encouraged everybody to boil their water," she said.

She acknowledged the city's staff for handling the issue despite the public having to deal with the boil order.

"A mainline break is not uncommon, but It is an inconvenience and they did get it fixed pretty quickly," she said.