Water main breaks prompt boil advisory; Helias cancels classes

Above is a map issued by Missouri American Water of the area in Jefferson City affected by a precautionary boil water advisory on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.
Above is a map issued by Missouri American Water of the area in Jefferson City affected by a precautionary boil water advisory on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.

A precautionary boil advisory is being issued for Missouri American Water customers in part of Jefferson City.

According to Missouri American Spokesman Brian Russell, Tuesday night, a 12 inch water main on Southwest Boulevard, used to fill Missouri American's water tank on Ellis Boulevard, broke.

Work crews repaired that break and began pumping water into the tank. However, as that was taking place, a second break on Southwest occurred and crews had to stop the pumping to fill the tank.

Crews had to work throughout the night to fix the second break on Southwest and were unable to fill the tank on Ellis like they normally would do. Because of this, many customers in the area of Southwest Boulevard had little or no water pressure when they got up on Wednesday morning.

Russell said until they can get the tank on Ellis refilled, they will be having a boil advisory posted. Details of the area affected will be forthcoming.

Due to the loss of water pressure, Helias Catholic High School canceled classes on Wednesday. Russell also said Capital Region Medical Center on Madison Street would be affected by the advisory, but they never lost pressure and had full water service for their facility.

The Capital Region Medical Center Southwest Campus located at 1432 Southwest Blvd. was without water, according to a news release from Capital Region at approximately 8:50 a.m. Wednesday.

The Sam B. Cook Healthplex and Capital Region Physicians-Family Care facilities - the latter located at 1500 Southwest Blvd. - closed Wednesday because of the water issues, according to the Capital Region news release, which added that another alert would be provided upon reopening of the Healthplex.

Jefferson City YMCA announced Wednesday morning that the Firley YMCA would close at 9:15 a.m. and was tentatively scheduled to reopen at 5 p.m., adding that "all group exercise classes held at the Firley Y are cancelled until the 5:30 p.m. Body Pump class."

Jefferson City Public Schools announced at noon that two of its elementary schools in the impacted area are also under the precautionary boil water advisory.

The boil advisory affects South and Moreau Heights elementary schools. Three other JCPS buildings - Cedar Hill and Lawson elementary schools and Thomas Jefferson Middle School - are also located within the impacted area, but are not affected because they are not serviced by Missouri American, according to a news release from JCPS Director of Communications Ryan Burns.

"Immediate precautions have been taken to eliminate access to drinking water," the JCPS news release said of steps taken at the affected schools, adding that, "As today is an early release day for the district, JCPS has measures in place to provide bottled water as needed for the remainder of the school day. Measures will be in place to provide bottled water to impacted schools tomorrow as well, if needed."

JCPS also confirmed that Missouri American had offered to deliver bottled water to the affected schools, and that the school district had taken them up on that offer - 1,600 bottles in total, or 800 each for South and Moreau Heights.

JCPS said it would continue to monitor the situation and would remain in contact with Missouri American, and would provide more information if anything changes.

Russell said full water service was restored around 11:22 a.m. on Wednesday morning. In all, Russell said approximately 5500 customers were in the affected area. That's roughly half of all Missouri American customers in Jefferson City.

"Our crews determined it was aging infrastructure that caused the breaks," Russell said.

Russell also said they have sent off samples of the water for testing and should know by about noon or 1 p.m. on Thursday if they can lift the boil advisory.

"We ask for people's patience, but unfortunately this is the nature of our business, sometimes," Russell said.

According to Missouri American's website alert on the boil advisory, "We are asking customers to bring their water to a rolling boil for three minutes before using it for drinking or cooking. Tap water is okay for washing and bathing. We will take water quality samples in the area today. The precautionary boil water advisory will be in effect until water quality samples confirm that the water remains safe for consumption. Precautionary boil water advisories normally last about 48 hours. We will call you again when the boil water advisory has been lifted. For more information, please visit our website at www.missouriamwater.com or our Facebook page."