Corry water leaks repaired, restrictions remain

10.04.16 | Bob Price

Corry water users were still being told to boil their water and were being asked to continue conserving it Monday even after significant weekend water leaks were repaired.

"We are currently under a boil advisory," City Manager Jason Biondi said. "We are asking all businesses, all users to conserve water in order for us to be able to refill the system as quickly as possible and return normal services including fire services."

Officials were estimating Monday that it could be several days before the system is back to normal and the boil advisory for drinking water is lifted.

"I would say we're looking at a minimum of Thursday," Mayor Charles Campbell said.

Biondi said the water incident began early Friday with two leaks that were found and fixed by that night. A third might have started around the same time but wasn't located and repaired until Sunday. Its exact cause wasn't known. Some customers on Monday were still experiencing the effects of the leaks as the system recovered, he said.
"Many areas in the city have water," Biondi said. "There are areas still without water."
Besides the city, the leaks also affected Columbus Township and part of Wayne Township, officials said. They said the water system serves about 3,200 total residential and business accounts.
Biondi said water conservation was the key to getting the system working as usual again.

"The more conservation that occurs, the quicker the system will be back to normal," he said.

Campbell said the biggest concern that remained Monday was not having enough water in the event of a fire. He expressed gratitude to stores and other communities that provided water for the Corry area and to residents and businesses who had to deal with the situation.

"I couldn't be more proud of the community," Campbell said. 

The mayor said restaurants were closed Monday as were schools in the Corry Area School District. District officials posted on Facebook Monday afternoon that schools would remain closed Tuesday.

Some businesses remained open but shut down restrooms, limited water use or brought in water from elsewhere.

An official at Corry Memorial Hospital couldn't be reached for comment on how it was affected by the water leaks.

Corry Baptist Church still held two services Sunday but the Rev. Sanders Anderson said he put wipes in the bathrooms for people to use on their hands and took in 5-gallon buckets of water for flushing.

"We were determined to have church irregardless," he said.

He and his wife, Robbin Sanders, stopped Monday morning at the Salvation Army on West Washington Street to pick up bottled drinking water.

The Salvation Army in Corry had given away more than 800 cases, each containing 24 bottles of water, by noon Monday.

"The pallets are disappearing as fast as they come in," said Maj. Deborah Weigner of the Salvation Army's Corry Worship and Service Center.

She and her husband, Maj. Henry Weigner, used a van to deliver cases of drinking water Monday to residents of the South Hills Apartments complex, where Hope Bailey, 28, was grateful for the two dozen bottles.

Bailey said her family was without water for part of Sunday and when it returned the pressure was still low because they live in an elevated area.

"Being a parent of three kids, it's been rough," she said.

Another Corry resident, 81-year-old Laura Savko, said she was boiling water to wash dishes, something she remembers having to do years ago. She said it wasn't an era she was eager to return to.

"When you boil (the water), it's too hot to handle," she said.

One of her neighbors was offering people containers of water from his above-ground pool for flushing but Savko was using water from a rain barrel.

"The community has pulled together and been fantastic through this," Biondi said.

He said people could get updates on the situation by calling (814) 663-7041.

A couple of Corry sisters were even trying to have a little fun with it. Marci Turner, 30, and Vanessa Lutton, 27, were driving around looking for puddles. Wearing a shower cap and towel over her clothing, Lutton, whose home had just a trickle of water Monday, was climbing into the puddles to wash her arms or shave her legs while her sister took humorous photos.

"We're going all over Corry," Turner said.