Updated Thursday, 12:50 p.m.
Water service has been restored in York County, South Carolina, after a water main break Wednesday, but residents have been asked to continue boiling water through at least Friday.
A water main break at the Rock Hill water filter plant reduced water pressure for many and left some without any water for several hours Wednesday. Although water is flowing again, pressure might still be low. Rock Hill mayor John Gettys said the city will send water samples to South Carolina's environmental department for testing to confirm it's safe to drink.
"This will not be complete until (Friday)," he said. "So the boiled water advisory will remain in effect until (Friday). And maybe extended depending on the test results we get back from DHEC."
Gettys told WFAE that the break happened because of a failure of a water pipe from the 1940s. The city had planned on removing the pipe from service within the next 18 months.
Officials said in a news conference that 125,000 customers have been impacted and about 12 million gallons of water have been lost -- six million gallons in just one hour -- because of the water main break at the facility on Cherry Road.
There is a boil water advisory now in effectfor all water customers throughout York County, due to reduced water pressure resulting from the water main break at the Rock Hill water filter plant. Instructions for purifying water by boiling at https://t.co/y8IV3cJICc.
— Rock Hill SC (@RockHillSCCity) October 9, 2019
Repairs were made overnight, and the plant was fully functioning by 3 a.m. Thursday, the city said in a release. But the filtering and cleaning process might take 1-2 days, officials said, and boiling water is still recommended through Friday. The city of Rock Hill recommended local schools and businesses to close Thursday.
Winthrop University, which is about two miles from the water filter plant, canceled classes for Thursday and Friday, and urged students who live on campus to leave campus.
Students who live on campus are strongly encouraged to leave campus. Staff should look to guidance from HR on taking leave on Oct. 10.
Please do not use campus restrooms until further notice. Note that portajons are available at these locations on campus:
— Winthrop University (@winthropu) October 9, 2019
Rock Hill recommended procedures for purifying bacteria-contaminated water on the city's website, including:
- Bring water to a rolling boil and keep it there at least one full minute. Let it cool before using.
- Stop using appliances and equipment that use drinkable water, such as dishwashers, icemakers, tea brewers and coffee makers.
- Prepare food with water that has been boiled.
- Use disposable paper, plastic or foam plates, cups, forks, etc.
- Wash hands with water that has been boiled and cooled.
- Wash, rise and sanitize pots, pans and other equipment with water that has been boiled and cooled.
- Brush your teeth with either boiled or bottled water.
WFAE's Michael Falero contributed to this report.