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TMCNet:  Boil water advisory to continue until at least Friday evening in Mechanicsburg area

[January 31, 2013]

Boil water advisory to continue until at least Friday evening in Mechanicsburg area

Jan 31, 2013 (The Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- United Water Pennsylvania said Thursday morning that it expects the boil water advisory to be in effect in the Mechanicsburg area until at least Friday evening.

The company issued the advisory Wednesday morning after an inspection caught low chlorine disinfection levels in the water.

The company said it continues to work with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to take water samples from the company's Mechanicsburg water distribution system for lab analysis, as required by regulation.

Affected customers will be notified when the boil water advisory is lifted by means of a rapid dialer communication system and website posted. Customers who have changed their phone number are asked to notify United Water's Customer Service Office by calling 564-3662, so that they can add the number to their system.

------ Posted at 9 p.m. on Cumberlink: United Water Pennsylvania expects Mechanicsburg area residents may have to endure at least one more day under a boil water advisory until its chlorine levels are back to approved levels.

Until then, grocery stores like Giant Food Stores are prepared to make sure bottled water is readily available to those residents.

United Water issued the boil water advisory Wednesday morning for its Mechanicsburg area residents, which includes those living in the Borough of Mechanicsburg as well as Silver Spring, Hampden, Monroe, Upper Allen, Lower Allen and Monaghan townships. Not every resident in those municipalities are customers of United Water -- many belong to Pennsylvania American Water.

Chris Brand, spokesman for Giant, said most of the increase in demand for bottled water came to their stores on Simpson Ferry Road and Cumberland Parkway in Mechanicsburg. The Giant store in Silver Spring Township got another shipment of water Wednesday evening, but Brand said it was the other two Mechanicsburg stores that felt the most impact from the advisory.

"We have been working very hard to ensure we have water for our customers," Brand said, adding that water shipments were scheduled to keep coming to the two stores throughout the night. "We're going to continue to do that until this event is over." Given the number of Giant and Martin Food Stores across the northeast, Brand said this isn't their first brush with a boil water advisory and staff is used to dealing with the needs during such an advisory.

"We have had them in the past," he said. "We know the routine. When it was announced, we were on the phone having that water delivered." Brand said, usually, staff may check the stock daily or twice daily and phone in more supplies from the warehouse. Those calls were made much more often Wednesday in trying to get water restocked.

School Though the boil water advisory affected a large area of Mechanicsburg, Messiah College and Cumberland Valley School District were unaffected by the advisory. However, Mechanicsburg Area School District was not as lucky.

Mechanicsburg school district spokeswoman Krista Archibald said the advisory affected all of the schools in the district and forced them to close down all of the water fountains as well as bring bottled water and cups in for students and staff.

"The biggest challenge was getting the water in, but we were able to deal with that at all of the schools," she said.

Superintendent Mark Leidy sent a note home to parents notifying them about what the school was doing and asking parents to send bottled water with their children today should the advisory still be in effect.

United Water United Water expects that to be the case as it works with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to raise its chlorine levels present in the water.

The company said it routinely monitors conditions at the Rabold Water Treatment Plant in Mechanicsburg. On Wednesday, the plant was unable to maintain adequate chlorine disinfection, which could result in an increased chance that the water may contain disease-causing organisms. United Water did not specify why the treatment plant was unable to maintain adequate chlorine levels.

The company said the advisory will likely be up for another day because the DEP-mandated water quality testing following low chlorine levels at a water facility generally takes 48 hours to complete before an advisory can be lifted.

United Water said until the advisory is lifted, customers in the affected areas should not drink the water without boiling it first. Bottled or boiled water should be used for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth and food preparation.

The company will also communicate directly with affected customers with a valid phone number in its rapid dialer system.

For more information about the advisory, call United Water's Customer Service Department toll-free at 888-299-8972 or at 564-3662.

------ Posted earlier on Cumberlink: United Water Pennsylvania said the Department of Environmental Protection-mandated water quality testing following low chlorine levels at a water facility generally takes 48 hours to complete before a boil water advisory is lifted.

United Water issued the advisory today for the Mechanicsburg area, which includes areas of Mechanicsburg Borough, as well as Hampden, Silver Spring, Monroe, Upper Allen, Lower Allen and Monaghan townships. The company noted that customers in Grantham -- Messiah College -- and Center Square are not affected by the advisory.

The company also added that residents in these municipalities may be served by a different water supplier. If that's the case, then those residents would not be impacted by the boil water advisory.

------ Posted at 10:30 a.m. on Cumberlink: United Water Pennsylvania issued a boil water advisory for the Mechanicsburg area, including the surrounding townships, and the advisory may last for two days, at least, the company said.

Cumberland Valley School District said its schools are not affected by the advisory since they use another water provider, but Mechanicsburg Area School District has been dealing with the advisory.

School district spokeswoman Krista Archibald said the advisory affects all of the district's schools and forced them to close down all of the water fountains and bring in bottled water for the students. Archibald said Food Services is also working with bottled and boiled water for food preparation.

"The biggest challenge was getting the water in, but we were able to deal with that at all of the schools," she said.

Archibald said the school district is asking parents to send bottled water in with students tomorrow should the advisory last that long.

------ Posted at 8:45 a.m. on Cumberlink: United Water Pennsylvania issued a Boil Water advisory for Mechanicsburg area residents, which it says will be in effect for at least the next two days.

The advisory area includes the borough of Mechanicsburg and Hampden, Silver Spring, Lower Allen, Upper Allen and Monroe townships in Cumberland County as well as Monaghan Township in York County.

The company said its customers in that area may be at increased risk from microbial contamination.

United Water said in a statement on its website it routinely monitors conditions at the water treatment plant and in the water distribution system. Today, the Rabold water treatment plant was unable to maintain adequate chlorine disinfection. As a result, there is an increase chance that the water may contain disease-causing organisms.

These organizations include bacteria, viruses and parasites, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea and associated headaches.

United Water urges it customers to not drink the water without boiling it first. Customers should bring all water to a rolling boil, let it boil for one minute and let it cool before using. Customers can also opt to use bottled water.

Bottled or boiled water should be used for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth and food preparation until further notice.

United Water said it is working closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and is testing the water to ensure that it meets drinking water standards.

For more information, call the Customer Service Department toll-free at 888-299-8972 or 564-3662.

------ Posted at 7:42 a.m. on Cumberlink: United Water Pennsylvania has issued a boil water advisory for customers who live in the Mechanicsburg area.

The advisory area includes the borough of Mechanicsburg and Hampden, Silver Spring, Lower Allen, Upper Allen and Monroe townships in Cumberland County as well as Monaghan Township in York County.

United Water said the advisory was issued because of low chlorine levels in the Mechanicsburg area system. It did not say why.

The company said boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling the water kills bacteria and other organisms in the water, the company said.

United Water said it will be providing further information to customers by means of a rapid alert phone call.

___ (c)2013 The Sentinel (Carlisle, Pa.) Visit The Sentinel (Carlisle, Pa.) at www.cumberlink.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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