GREENVILLE — A citywide water Boil Advisory was lifted late Sunday night. Residents were advised by city officials that tap water can be used for all purposes.
“The City of Greenville Public Water System’s water quality has returned to normal parameters,” said officials.
Officials originally issued the advisory for Greenville residents Saturday evening after torrential rains hit the area. According to the City of Greenville Water Plant, high turbidity (cloudiness) levels were found in the water after samples were taken that showed a level greater than 2.0 turbidity units (NTU), above the allowable standard of 1.0 turbidity units (NTU), due to a mechanical failure. As a result, residents were told that all water from the city’s water system that is used for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth, and preparing food would need to be boiled before using it.
“The duration of the event was very short about, seven minutes. Because of the elevated turbidity, there is an increased chance that your drinking water may contain harmful microbes,” officials said.
City officials said Turbidity had no health effects but could interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Turbidity could indicate the presence of disease-causing organisms.
Water Department officials said the filter that caused the issue was taken offline quickly.
The City of Greenville Water Department collected 20 bacteriological samples throughout the city Saturday evening. The samples were taken to a lab late Saturday night for analysis. The Greenville Water Department consulted with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency during this time to correct the problem that occurred.
Sunday evening residents received a one call from the Darke County’s Sheriff’s Office that the advisory had been lifted and that it was safe to use the water in the city.
The advisory had residents buying up the city’s supply of bottled water in a hurry. On Saturday night, The Darke County Emergency Management Agency contacted its state counterpart and put a request in to the Ohio Public Private Partnership to prioritize water shipments to Greenville stores. By Sunday, pallets of bottled water were being delivered to area retail stores.
Linda Blocher, of Greenville, said she first found out about the water advisory after supper Saturday night. Her father lives in an assisted living home and had just finished drinking a full glass of water out of a water fountain, she said. As for precautions, she is using hand sanitizer instead of water to wash her hands and brushing her teeth with bottled water.
“I’m guessing the contamination came from the flood,” Blocher said. “I am thinking all the rain was backing things up. I did read that it had something to do with a malfunctioning filter. With Thanksgiving coming, I am shopping for things that don’t require preparation with water to take to my sister’s, who lives in Eaton, thank goodness. She is cooking most of the food, which makes it convenient.”
The advisory put stress on local restaurants, too. The Darke County Health Department issued directives to local food facilities to shut down if they did not have the ability to boil water. Main Street Greenville issued a statement saying that downtown restaurant were taking the extra precautions to protect the health of their customers. Some restaurants offered limited hours on Sunday, while some were closed.
The Double M Diner on S. Broadway Street in Greenville remained open. According to 10-year employee Jenny Conway, it was business as usual.
“Sunday is our busiest day, but especially with so many businesses being closed,” she said. “Thankfully they still have a place to come here. We had quite a few come from Bob Evans.”
Conway attributed a quick reaction to Saturday night’s announcement to Double M Diner owner Shellie Walker. The diner was open Saturday night when the advisory started.
“We switched everything over,” Conway said. “A lot of our food is grill-cooked, so we don’t need water for that type of stuff. We brought in jugs of water to send through our coffee pot, instead of using our other one that is hooked up to the water line. To cut down on using the water for the dishes, we brought in plastic ware and Styrofoam.
Reporter Carolyn Harmon contributed to the story.