Main break leads to boil notice

BLAIRSBURG – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has placed the City of Blairsburg under a boil advisory for two days after a water main broke early Tuesday morning.

According to Jan Greenfield, Blairsburg’s Water Distribution Operator, the city detected a leak on Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. when the pumps were not keeping up with demand.

Blairsburg Mayor Troy Hassebrock reported that it was difficult to isolate the leak and subsequently, the city water tower was drained before the leak was stopped.

The repairs were completed at the site of Lake and Third Street by 3 p.m., but in accordance to DNR rules, the city was under “boil only” restrictions, said Hassebrock.

Students at Northeast Hamilton remained in school and received bottled water for drinking and liquid sanitizers were available in the restrooms for handwashing, reported Superintendent Larry Frakes.

Frakes said that the State of Iowa leaves the dismissal of school up to the jurisdiction of the school district when a water advisory is issued.

Greenfield said that the water restriction was a precaution to insure that no bacteria had entered the water supply. The E. Coli bacteria is a health hazard, especially for infants, the elderly and infirm, she said.

“They can get dehydrated very quickly with a bacterial infection,” she said.

Water mains seldom break, said Greenfield, but they are prone to Murphy’s Law.

“If they can break, they will,” she said.

Most often, water mains will break in the extremely cold weather because the frost goes deeply into the ground, said Greenfield.

Mains can also break when the ground begins to warm after the winter.

“Freezing and thawing of the earth can put stress on the water mains,” said Greenfield.

While the heaving of the cold ground can cause water mains to rupture, heavy pressure such as vehicle, heavy machinery and rail traffic have ruptured water mains, too, said Greenfield.

The DNR requires two days of testing with no contaminate traces present following such an incident, said Greenfield.

Greenfield expected the water restriction will be lifted by today before noon.