Boil Water Advisory in Effect for Parts of Montco

By David Chang
|  Wednesday, May 21, 2014  |  Updated 8:22 AM EDT
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Over 30,000 residents in Montgomery County are under a water restriction due to problems in the raw water supply at a local treatment plant. NBC10's Daralene Jones speaks to frustrated customers.

NBC10.com - Daralene Jones

Over 30,000 residents in Montgomery County are under a water restriction due to problems in the raw water supply at a local treatment plant. NBC10's Daralene Jones speaks to frustrated customers.

A boil water advisory has been issued for Pennsylvania American Water customers in parts of Montgomery County hours after over 30,000 residents were placed under a water restriction.

According to officials, the recent heavy rain created high turbidity(cloudiness) in the raw water supply which limited the production capacity at the Norristown Water Treatment Plant. A spokesperson for Pennsylvania American Water says the issue began with a deluge that saturated the area on May 1, causing the Schuylkill River to crest in the Norristown area, reaching its 4th highest level in history.

Officials say mud and debris caused serious issues with the treatment process while customer demand made it difficult for the system to keep up.

According to experts, a loss of positive water pressure indicates that there could be contamination.

"A loss of positive water pressure is a signal of the existence of conditions that could allow contamination to enter the distribution system through backflow by back pressure or back-siphonage," said a spokesperson for Pa. American Water in a released statement. "As a result, there is an increased chance that the water might contain disease-causing organisms."

A boil water advisory went into effect for the following communities Tuesday night:

  • East Norriton Township
  • West Norriton Township
  • Lower Providence Township
  • Whitpain Township
  • Worcester Township
  • Whitemarsh Township

Pa. American Water customers in these areas are advised to not drink the water without boiling it first. Officials also say customers should bring all water to a rolling boil, let it boil for one minute and then cool before using. They can also use bottled water as an alternative.

Finally, they say customers should use boiled or bottled water for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth and food preparation until further notice.

Earlier on Tuesday, officials with Pennsylvania American Water issued a mandatory conservation notice for customers in the following communities:

  • Norristown
  • Bridgeport
  • East Norriton Township
  • West Norriton Township
  • Upper Merion Township
  • Lower Providence Township
  • Plymouth Township
  • Whitpain Township
  • Worcester Township
  • Perkiomen Township

Customers were advised to limit their water use to essential purposes only until the issue is resolved. Customers were also told they could experience low water pressure and/or discolored water.

Danielle Herrera of Norristown told NBC10 that she didn’t find out about the water issue until late Tuesday afternoon, after she had already done several loads of laundry.

“I think that’s a load of crap,” Herrera said. “We’ve had a lot of rain like that before and it’s never happened.”

Officials are providing updates through the Pennsylvania American Water website and will notify customers once the notice is lifted.

Customers can also call the Pennsylvania American Water’s customer service center at 1-800-565-7292 for more details.

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