City hit with yet more water breaks, boil alerts over weekend


By Tom Corrigan - tcorrigan@aimmediamidwest.com



Water, water may seemingly be squirting out of city pipes just about everywhere but, at least for some, there may not be a drop to drink.

Not without boiling it anyway.

Early Sunday evening, the Portsmouth City Health Department reported two more water line breaks and issued two more boil advisories. These were the latest of what has become a long string of water breaks and attendant boil alerts dating back to approximately June 22.

The first apparently major break reported Sunday occurred in the 300 Block of Offnere Street, affecting approximately eight connections and 30 residents. The health department issued a boil alert for the area around Offnere at 7:12 p.m. The second big break of the day was reported just a short time later at 7:55p.m. That break happened in the 1100 Block of 28th Street, affecting approximately 11 connections and 44 people.

In both cases, the city stated officials would reevaluate the boil alerts at 9 p.m. Monday. That reevaluation took place after the deadline for this issue. Call the city’s health department hotline at 740–354–8931 for any updates.

In reality, the above breaks were (at least) the fifth and sixth breaks reported over the recent weekend. The city said at least three small water breaks occurred between Saturday night and Sunday morning near Third and Offnere streets, Eighth and Gay streets in Portsmouth and Beekman Avenue in West Portsmouth. All were isolated and had minimal customer impact. No boil alerts were issued in these instances.

Even as additional breaks occurred, in a prepared statement, city officials reported Sunday water storage reserves continued to build over the weekend. Officials added progress was made in filling the Hilltop Water Tower overnight Saturday into Sunday with the level rising to near 40 feet before falling back overnight to 36 feet when an additional pump obtained from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was engaged.

The level later rose back up to 40 feet and continued to rise, however, the pump did not speed the process of filling the tower as expected. Plans to add a larger pump were described as underway.

Contractors were continuing to work on the replacement of the 30-inch main on Offnere. Officials cautioned until replacement of the 30-inch main is complete, residents can expect the possibility of water discoloration, periods of low pressure and possible small water breaks in Portsmouth, Rosemount and West Portsmouth.

Water Shuttle missions from fire departments around the county, region and the state continue to be coordinated by the Portsmouth Fire Department to facilitate keeping the Southern Ohio Medical Center operations stable and on-going to the community.

The Portsmouth Police Department is advising that in conjunction with the ongoing upgrades to the 30-inch high pressure water main project, Kinneys Lane was closed at the intersection with Offnere Street. Beginning Monday morning, all eastbound through traffic was rerouted to Waller Street. Westbound through traffic was advised to use alternative routes via Grandview Avenue.

Local traffic will be able to access roadways up to Oakland Avenue from the west and the north entrance to Greenlawn Cemetery from the east. On Sunday, the city said closure signs were already in place on U.S. 52 and Offnere. Contractors were to place additional signage. SOMC traffic should utilize Coles Blvd and Grandview routes to access the hospital, according to the city.

For residents living in Portsmouth, Rosemount, or West Portsmouth still suffering from water that is discolored or has rust and sediment issues, still do not have water, or have disrupted service, free tap water continues to be available at the water filtration plant in New Boston. You must bring your own containers. If you have special needs, or unable to leave your home to purchase water or fill up at the filtration plant please call the Portsmouth City Health Department information at the number listed above.

By Tom Corrigan

tcorrigan@aimmediamidwest.com