Boil water advisory for McKeesport area may be lifted Wednesday
The first results from drinking water tests in four eastern Allegheny County communities still under boil water advisories were good Tuesday, but the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County says its 16,000 customers affected should continue boiling water for drinking and cooking.
“We are hopeful that the advisory can be lifted Wednesday after a second round of good results,” authority spokesman Matthew Junker said.
On Saturday, a water pump at the McKeesport water treatment plant failed while the backup pump was in the process of being rebuilt, the authority said.
The pump failure caused a boil water advisory for authority customers in McKeesport, White Oak, Versailles and Port Vue.
Both pumps are to be replaced under the current capital improvement plan, according to Junker.
The pump failure caused flooding of the intake building at the McKeesport plant, which had to be pumped out before repairs could begin.
The 10-million-gallon-per-day pump rebuild was expedited and, by early Sunday morning, was re-installed, the authority reported.
Under state Department of Environmental Protection regulations, the precautionary boil water advisory was implemented as storage tank elevations dropped, resulting in customers being without water.
The loss of water pressure was due to the mechanical problems that occurred Saturday at the plant, which draws water from the Youghiogheny River.
The issue signaled the possibility of a microbial contamination that allows bacteria to enter the distribution system through back-flow by back-siphonage, increasing the chance for the water to contain disease-causing organisms that can cause nausea, cramps, diarrhea and associated headaches.
The second round of testing started Tuesday. Results are expected Wednesday, Junker said.
The authority recommends water should be boiled for one minute and then cooled before using for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth and food preparation.
MAWC will notify customers by phone, news media, and social media when the precautionary boil water advisory status changes.
Customers may not have received phone calls because an emergency number was not registered with MAWC. It is a customer’s responsibility to provide MAWC with that number, officials said.
Follow the Update Emergency Information link to verify account information to enter an emergency number.
In McKeesport, drinking water is available at 238 Atlantic Ave.; the intersections of Walnut and Juniper; Walnut and 12th; and McKeesport Hospital. It is also available in White Oak at 2280 Lincoln Way and 1612 Lincoln Way.
Port Vue water availability locations are at 304 Gumbert St. and 1515 Washington Blvd.
Parents of infants and young children and people at increased risk, such as pregnant women, some elderly and people with severely compromised immune systems should seek advice from their health care provider about drinking the water.
For more information, contact MAWC at 724-755-5800.
Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter .