In what was said to be the last regularly scheduled press release on the Portsmouth water crisis, officials stated the city reservoir on Sunrise is continuing to slowly refill. Once that happens, officials further stated that recovery of the city water system will be nearly complete. No new water breaks have allowed the reserve tank to stay at nearly full levels.
Acting City Manager Sam Sutherland, who is also Portsmouth Water Works Director, said the level in the tank had reached 82.2 feet as of Friday. The tank generally is maintained at between 75 and 80 feet.
The valve to fill the 22-million-gallon underground reserve tank was opened slightly Thursday night to allow what the city called a very slow filling process so as to not disrupt the availability of the reserve tank for water customers. Sutherland noted all boil orders have been lifted and water is safe although some sediment and discoloration may be seen sporadically as the larger underground tank refills.
The city is still asking residents to refrain from any high-level water use as much as possible.
The 24-hour hotline maintained during the water crisis by the Portsmouth Health Department reverted to a general information line about water quality with questions answered between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. by calling (740) 354-8931.
Persons with concerns about their water may still draw jugs for consumption at the Filtration Plant at New Boston.
Contractors continue to work on the reservoir water line improvement project. As the repaired lines get tied into the water system, reservoir water pressure will increase making filling the reserves more efficient. Traffic detours near the line improvement work will continue. Look for traffic detour routing signage in the work areas.
Beginning Monday morning, all eastbound through traffic should use alternative routes via Waller Street. Southern Ohio Medical Center traffic should utilize Coles Blvd and Grandview to access the hospital.
While the city said daily updates will cease, information will be provided as necessary in the future. Residents are also encouraged to monitor social media for the latest from the Scioto County Emergency Management Agency.
City officials wanted to say a special “thank you” to local and state partners of EMA who provided high capacity pumps; bottled water for special needs families; additional radios for fire departments providing support to Portsmouth Fire Department at the hospital. Extreme gratitude goes out to local and regional fire departments for the around the clock service to keep the hospital open.
Besides the organizations mentioned above, numerous community groups and others are said to have stepped up to help with recent water shortages
During the week of June 25, the Salvation Army Disaster Services Vehicle went through several neighborhoods within Portsmouth City limits to help meet the need of those affected by city water line breaks. Volunteers Jim Calder and Russell Malone went door to door to deliver clean drinking water. Capt. Dan Simco of the local Portsmouth Salvation Army extended his gratitude to the generosity of the community to make these simple but essential acts of kindness possible.