Boil Water Advisory in Effect After Massive Water Main Break

By TWC News Web Staff, originally posted on July 21, 2016


CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — Nearly a quarter of a million residents in Erie County were effected by water loss or low water pressure following a major water main break in Amherst Wednedsay night.

A boil water advisory remains in effect in northern Erie County. It covers the towns of Amherst, Clarence, Lancaster, and Newstead as well as the villages of Williamsville, Lancaster and Depew.

County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the county water authority sent crews to repair the broken line in an area near Millersport Highway and Sheridan Drive.

“They shut the valves off so that they could stop the water flow through that pipe, move water around, the system does allow for moving water around if there are broken pipes, and that’s how water pressure was then restored to the homes,” said Poloncarz.

Poloncarz says the water authority is still working to repair the pipe. The water boil notice will be in effect for two to three days.

The Erie County Water Authority says this is the first time a “boil water notice” has been issued in the last decade and they’re looking into creating automated notifications through email or robocalls if this occurs again.

To help get the cleanest, safest water, the New York State Department of Health has a user-friendly  “boil water notice” checklist. The health department says it’s safe to wash your clothes in the water, but not the dishes. For more information about what precautions you should take click here.

Catholic Health’s Sisters of Charity Hospital Saint Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga has canceled elective surgeries for Thursday. Bottled water, ice, hand sanitizer and other personal hygiene products are being given out to patients, visitors and staff there.

Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital activated its emergency response plan, but there’s been no impact on patient care or water supply. The hospital is operating under a boil water notice.

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein says the boil water notice is just a precaution, and there is no evidence of harmful water in the system. If you think you may have ingested potentially contaminated water, Burstein says you should wait to see if you develop symptoms of an e-coli infection.

“That would present as loss of appetite, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea or vomiting. But if people do have any questions or concerns they can call their primary care provider to get some questions answered,” said Burstein.

Any water used for drinking or washing should be boiled for one minute before it’s used.

Sen. Chuck Schumer calls the water main break unacceptable. He blames it on the aging water and sewer pipes and is calling on the federal government to help pay for upgraded systems.

“Any help the federal government can provide in mitigating the cost will help get the systems replaced, rehabilitated more quickly so there are fewer breaks like the one in Amherst and it would save local taxpayers a whole lot of money,” he said.

Schumer says an upgraded water system will help bring in more businesses and grow the local economy.

The water boil notice will likely be in effect for 2 to 3 days.

The Water Authority says this is the first time such a notice has been issued in the last decade and it’s looking to create automated notifications through email or robocalls if this happens again.

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