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Breaking: Notice Lifted — Water Main Break Causes City to Issue Boil Water Notice

Water main break prompts boil water notice. Photo by J. Gregory Gerdel
Two high schools and at least two senior living homes affected

By Carla Occaso

A significant water main break in Montpelier Aug. 26 caused possible water contamination, prompting city officials to issue a boil water notice. Repairs have been made to the infrastructure, and as of Aug. 28, city officials announced the notice was lifted.

A large number of households were affected by the leak. A list of streets directly impacted can be seen at montpelier-vt.org/DocumentCenter/View/7690/August-26th-2021-Boil-Water-List- . Larger arteries include Elm Street, East State Street from West Street to College Street, College between Foster and Main, Gallison Hill Road (U-32 High School), Heaton Street, High School Drive (Montpelier High School), Main Street (Loomis to Town Line), North Street, Terrace Street (Bailey to Walker Terrace), and Westview Meadows.

A notice on the City of Montpelier’s website indicated customers were under a boil water notification until it was lifted. “This situation presents a significant health risk to users of the above-described section of the Montpelier water system,” information states. A boil water notice means to refrain from drinking water, which comes from a tap, without boiling it first. Additionally, boiled water should be used for making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation. Boiling the water gets rid of coliform bacteria — bacteria that can indicate other bacteria (potentially harmful) may be in the water supply. People with health problems, infants, and the elderly could be more vulnerable to illness.

The boil water notice was in effect until tests showed levels of bacteria that meet state and federal safe drinking water standards. City Manager William Fraser wrote on the city’s Facebook site that the break occurred in one of the 12-inch mains, which is why it spread so widely.

According to the Montpelier city website, “For more information, please contact Donna Barlow-Casey, Director of Public Works, or Kurt Motyka, P.E., Deputy Director at 802-223-9508. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division at (802) 828-1535.”