Westmoreland municipal authority hoping to lift boil-water advisory Tuesday
The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County is making progress toward its goal of lifting a three-day-old boil-water advisory by Tuesday.
Authority Manager Chris Kerr said on Sunday that a first set of tests “came back good,” and a second round of analysis is expected to be completed on Monday.
That's hopeful news for about 125,000 Westmoreland County residents whom the authority advised on Thursday evening to not consume water because a Bell Township treatment plant was affected by algae containing potentially dangerous microscopic organisms.
Kerr said additional tests — which have a 24-hour incubation period — were being conducted on Sunday, with results coming on Monday. Water authority management staff met and “everything is moving according to schedule,” Kerr said.
The authority will schedule a news conference to announce the results of the tests.
“The first tests results (Saturday) all came back showing no bacteriological growth on any of the test samples that were done,” Kerr said. “We're thinking positively that the second set will show the same thing.”
Schools, restaurants, residents and retirement communities have been scrambling to form back-up plans that included purchasing bottled water and hand sanitizer and boiling large amounts of water. Restaurants such as Ianni's Pizzeria in Delmont resorted to shutting down fountain drink machines and providing customers with disposable plates and silverware.
Part-owner and manager Wesley Harris said the pizzeria didn't open on Friday, typically the business's busiest day.
“We didn't know how we were going to handle it,” he said.
Pizza making resumed on Saturday and Sunday, and bottled water was purchased to serve to restaurant guests, he said. Other than boiling a small amount of water to wash pizza pans, “we just don't use any water,” Harris said.
The authority told members of 50,000 households in 33 municipalities in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties to boil water before consuming it. Some received robocalls about the alert, while others remained confused about whether they are affected by the precaution.
Officials attributed the confusion to an ever-changing system that provides customers with water from more than one treatment plant.
The authority said mainly households north of Route 30 receive water from the Beaver Run Reservoir, where a sand-and-gravel filter at the George R. Sweeney Treatment Plant was affected by algae containing microscopic materials, such as cryptosporidium, that should not be in consumable water. Officials are testing for the waterborne parasite.
Symptoms of human exposure to the parasite are flu-like: cramping, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Hospitals did not have any affected patients on Sunday, said Excela Health spokeswoman Jennifer Miele.
Pet owners should take the same precautions and give their pets boiled or bottled water, said Lori Mozina-Ogurchak, coordinator of Westmoreland County Animal Response Team.
“A lot of the things that affect humans are going to affect animals,” she said. “For pets, they don't go through that much water per day, so it's just playing it safe.”
If the second round of water testing comes back OK on Monday, the Department of Environmental Protection would have to verify the results before the advisory could be lifted.
Until then, schools resuming classes can follow plans from Friday and restaurants can limp along on bottled or boiled water.
Several school districts posted notices on their websites notifying students and parents of alternate plans. Penn-Trafford and Franklin Regional websites said school will continue as normal on Monday and students can bring water bottles. Lunch menus may be altered because of the advisory.
The Apollo-Ridge, Kiski Area and Leechburg Area school districts will be in session Monday. Officials from each school district, which closed Friday, indicated that all precautions are being taken to comply with the water alert.
Jeff Jackson, manager of Fox's Pizza in Delmont, said employees there are using hand sanitizer. Bottled water is being used to clean dishes, he said.
As trays of chicken wings sat awaiting football-watching customers' orders, Jackson said business has been good.
“We've been a lot busier the last couple days” because other area establishments have remained closed, he said. “Between Friday and Saturday, we've had a pretty good weekend.”
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or email@example.com. Staff writer Rossilynne Skena 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.
- Westmoreland County on pace to surpass record for drug-related fatalities
- Westmoreland judicial candidates spent more than $1.2 million for primary election
- Former Jeannette coach held for trial on charges of assault on teen girls
- Greensburg woman has a lifetime of hosting foreign exchange students
- New Derry to celebrate its 200th birthday
- Westmoreland Cultural Trust moves to next phase of Palace capital campaign
- More than 120,000 attend Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival
- State Supreme Court rejects latest Foxley Farm appeal in Ligonier Township dispute
- Murrysville home damaged in blaze
- Hempfield woman donates music inspired by WWI ‘doughnut girls’
- Youthful actors bring Disney classic ‘Tarzan’ to life at Geyer in Scottdale