A brief disruption in water service affected Strong residents and caused the early dismissal of Strong-Huttig schools Tuesday, but Mayor Daryell Howell said the issue was resolved within a period of several hours.
Early Tuesday afternoon, Strong-Huttig School District Superintendent Kimberly Thomas announced that school would dismiss at 1:30 p.m. due to an interruption in the city’s water supply. After-school tutoring was cancelled and the district’s buses ran early.
Howell explained later Tuesday afternoon that a water main was broken when it was accidentally drilled into by a company laying fiber optic lines underground.
“It was just one of those deals where they had it marked, but still hit that main line. Fortunately, we had all the materials here to get it back restored,” he said.
Howell said at 3:30 p.m. full water pressure was expected to be restored to all Strong residents within an hour. He said at the time that the city was waiting for a report from their water supervisor to determine whether a boil water notice would need to be issued.
“It wasn’t completely out, so he’ll make that decision, and if so, we’ll relay the information to the health department,” Howell said.
At 3:30, the city had employed reserve tanks to continue providing water to Strong residents, Howell said.
A boil water order has been issued for all Strong residents.
Strong residents are advised to boil any water that is to be used for drinking or food preparation. Also, ice cubes should be discarded and boiled water used to make new ice cubes, according to the ADH.
Water should be brought to a full rolling boil for at least one minute before being utilized for drinking or food preparation.
Bottled water is also safe to use in lieu of tap water, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
One should also be careful not to swallow water if bathing under a boil advisory. The CDC recommends giving children sponge baths to reduce the chances of their swallowing water.
If a dishwasher reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit, or if it has a sanitizing cycle, it should be safe to use, according to the CDC.
Thomas said school was set to be held as usual on Wednesday.
Portions of Strong were under a boil water notice last week when a water line was struck, reducing pressure, which could have possibly allowed contaminated water to enter the distribution system, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Strong-Huttig schools weren’t affected by that line break, Thomas said last week.
This story has been updated to reflect that a boil water order was issued for Strong Wednesday morning.