Alle-Kiski Valley communities cope with water alert
Kelly Smith had a large, boiling, pot of water on her Allegheny Township restaurant's stove on Friday morning, but it wasn't for food.
Smith's business, Mama K's Kitchen, was one of the thousands of homes and businesses — in 16 Alle-Kiski Valley communities — affected by the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County's order to boil water before using it.
The boil-water advisory is expected to continue until at least Tuesday, an authority spokeswoman said.
The water authority said a filtration barrier failed and may have allowed certain contaminants to enter the water system.
“It affects the way we run our business,” Smith said while standing next to a steaming cauldron. “We're boiling everything, we're using disposable utensils.
“I have this huge pot of water because we don't want to run out,” she added. “We have to boil the water for coffee; we can't use any of the ice. We shut off the water faucets in the bathroom and set up hand washing stations.”
Smith said she had bottles of water and pop for guests.
Smith said her business for the day would likely be harmed.
“People probably don't think we're open,” she said, pointing to a half-empty dining room. “We'd normally have more customers than this.”
Water in high demand
The sign on the pallet of bottled water cases near the front door of Sprankle's Market in Leechburg read: “maximum 3 per customer.”
“It's just like a snow day,” said store manager Blodwen Steighner, describing the amount of people in the store. “We're always busy on Fridays, but maybe more so today.”
Steighner said the pallet of bottled water was the second one the store had to put out Friday morning.
She said the store was running out of bottled water and jugs of water, but another shipment was on its way.
Jeff Swartzlander was one of many customers loading up on cases of bottled water.
“We found out last night, but we didn't think it pertained to us,” Swartzlander, 52, of Allegheny Township, said as he lifted a case of water into his shopping cart. “But, obviously, we found out it did.”
Swartzlander said he brushed his teeth and washed clothes in the possibly contaminated water before he found out he was supposed to boil it first.
Leechburg resident Sheila Kardos said she didn't find out about the water situation until about 3:30 Friday morning.
Like Swartzlander, Kardos said she used the water all night Thursday.
“My son called me,” Kardos, 41, said. “That's the only way I found out.”
Kardos said she called family to alert them after she found out.
Swartzlander said not being able to use water normally for a few days is just a minor inconvenience.
“We'll get by,” he said.
Kiski Area, Apollo-Ridge and Leechburg Area school districts closed Friday.
Franklin Regional Superintendent Gennaro Piraino said that once the district determined it could safely hold school, it distributed bottled water to schools, served pre-made food at lunches and used Styrofoam trays to cope.
“We are prepared on Monday with the same level of precautions and procedures” if the advisory is still in effect, Piraino said.
Sam Rubin, who runs Walkers PetHotail in Murrysville, said the dogs at day care were all getting well water. Rubin was upset that the authority did not immediately release information about what was contaminating the water.
“We didn't know if it was a parasite or a chemical,” he said.
R.A. Monti is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media. Kate Wilcox, a staff writer for Trib Total Media, contributed to this report.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 2 stores robbed in Alle-Kiski Valley
- 7 in custody after New Kensington drug raid
- Upper Burrell man charged with sexually assaulting boy
- Springdale to stick with chief
- Leechburg councilwoman resigns; applicants sought
- Burrell makes effort to improve performance scores
- 2 appointees fill out Cheswick Council
- Parents of duct-taped Highlands student don’t want charges
- Officials unite to combat violence in New Kensington
- Harrison woman dead in 3-car crash in Natrona Heights
- Cookies for Our Troops marches on