Boil Water Advisory in Western PA Due to Unknown Contaminant

by Duane Nichols on November 9, 2017

Monongahela River water may be problematic.

Pennsylvania American Water issues 48-hour boil water advisory for 55+ communities, estimated 100,000 customers

From a News Report on WTAE, Action 4 News, November 6, 2017

BETHEL PARK, PA — Pennsylvania American Water has issued a 48-hour boil water advisory for 55 communities in Allegheny and Washington counties. An estimated 100,000 customers are affected. (See the list of communities below).

The advisory was issued as a precaution due to high levels of turbidity at the Elrama water treatment plant, according to PAWC. (The Elrama plant draws water from the Monongahela River a mile south of the Elizabeth bridge over the river on PA Route 51. Clairton is the next community downstream.)

The advisory applies only to drinking and cooking, not bathing or washing clothes.

Residents of impacted communities should bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water.

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

The advisory was issued as a precaution due to high levels of turbidity at the Elrama water treatment plant, according to PAWC.

According to PAWC, turbidity has no health effects. However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Turbidity may indicate the presence of disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which can cause symptoms such nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches.

People with severely compromised immune systems, infants, and some elderly may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice from their health care providers about drinking water.

Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by suspended solids that are usually invisible to the naked eye. It is a key test of water quality.

The full list of communities is as follows:

Allegheny County — Bethel Park, Clairton, Dravosburg, Elizabeth Township, Elizabeth Borough, Glassport, Jefferson, Jefferson Hills Borough, Liberty, Lincoln, North Fayette, South Fayette, South Park, Upper Saint Clair, West Elizabeth

Washington County — Amwell, Avella, Buffalo, Burgettstown, Canton, Canonsburg, Carroll Township, Cecil Township, Chartiers, City of Washington, Claysville, Cross Creek, Donegal Township, East Washington, Fallowfield, Finleyville, Frankfort Springs, Forward Township, Green Hills Borough, Independence, Hanover, Hopewell, Houston, Jefferson, McDonald, McMurray, , Midway, Monongahela, Mount Pleasant, New Eagle, North Franklin, North Strabane, Nottingham, Peters Township, Robinson Township, Smith Township, Somerset Township, South Franklin, South Strabane, Union Township, West Middletown


Bethel Park Community Center: 5151 Park Ave., Bethel Park, PA 15102
Canonsburg Dam parking lot: McDowell Rd., McMurray, PA 15317
Canonsburg United Presbyterian Church: 112 W. Pike St., Canonsburg, PA 15317
Carroll Township Volunteer FireDepartment: 988 Route 837, Monongahela, PA 15063
Elrama Volunteer Fire Company: 17 Elrama Ave., Elrama, PA 15038
North StrabaneFire Department: 2550 Washington Rd., Canonsburg, PA 15317
South Fayette Township Library: 515 Millers Run Rd., Morgan, PA 15064
South Park Township Library: 2575 Brownsville Rd., South Park Township, PA 15129
Upper St. Clair Community & Recreation Center: 1551 Mayview Rd., Upper St. Clair, PA 15241

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KDKA News 2 November 9, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Boil Water Advisory Lifted In Allegheny & Washington Counties

By John Shumway, KDKA-TV, News 2, November 8, 2017

BETHEL PARK (KDKA) – A Boil Water Advisory, which was affecting 100,000 customers in parts of Allegheny and Washington counties, has been lifted.

With first light came word Pennsylvania American Water’s first test for contamination came back clean.

It was welcome news at Nothing Bundt Cake, in Siena at St. Clair, where the boil water advisory was cramping their style. Owner Hollie Kawecki says, “We’ve been unable to wash any of our pans. When it came to baking, the majority of our cakes do contain water.”

Then, just after noon, Penn American’s Melissa Walters announced, “The second test came back clean, which allowed us to lift the boil advisory.”

Kawecki and her staff immediately started rising out sinks, doing dishes, and washing the Bundt pans. “My goodness what a relief,” she said.

Next door at Duck Donuts it was not any easier. Owner Andy Jarusinsky says, “Our core products are made with water. The donuts themselves and our coffee and espresso drinks.” He says they idled the espresso machine and used jugs of water for baking.

Penn American says the problem was the failure of one of the eight filters at its water treatment facility in Elrama.

“You can think of a filter in your house. Sometimes filters get clogged, sometimes they break, they get old,” Walters said. “These would not have gotten old, but it’s the same idea.”

The bad filter has been repaired and the other seven checked out and cleared. The water plant is back to normal operations.

For The Porch restaurant, it will take more than turning on the tap to get the bottom line back in order.

Executive Chef Kevin Hermann says, “We did have to close yesterday and for lunch today.” Hermann says they could make and serve food using bottled water, but were unable to run their dish machine or do any cleaning. So, word that the boil advisory was being lifted this afternoon brought relief.

Hermann says, “It was great. The weight was lifted, and we’ve taken every precaution necessary, and we’re super excited to be open and serving again.”

As for helping any of the restaurants recoup their losses, Walters says, “We certainly feel the pain and the inconvenience of all our customers and the restaurants and the restaurant owners, so that’s something we’ll certainly explore.”

While many restaurants in the boil water zone are relieved to have the water back, one is facing a citation from the Allegheny County Health Department.

Health officials cited the Papa John’s pizza shop on Library Road in Bethel Park for using the contaminated water during the advisory. Inspectors say the pizza shop did not have safe water for preparing food, washing hands or washing dishes.

It has since been re-inspected and allowed to open.

The “all clear” means there is no further concern about possible contamination, but anyone still concerned can run their taps for a bit and throw out any ice cubes made by an ice maker during the boil advisory period.



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