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Water boil advisory lifted

August 15, 2000

Water boil advisory lifted



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Almost a week after an advisory was issued, residents of Shepherdstown and those served by public water in the surrounding area no longer have to boil their water for drinking and cooking.

A boil-water advisory in place since Wednesday, Aug. 9, was lifted Tuesday afternoon by West Virginia state health officials.

The advisory was necessary because muddy water from the Potomac River caused city water to exceed standards for drinking water. City officials submitted water samples for testing to ensure the steps they took corrected the problem.

"The samples came back and they were satisfactory," said Mike Mower, senior district engineer with the state Bureau of Health.

Mower said the state issues about one such advisory per year in the eight-county area with 17 public water supply systems in his jurisdiction.

He said this one took longer than usual to resolve.

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"Six days is a pretty long time," Mower said. "Normally it's about four days."

The city has been dealing with filters the state believes are inadequate to the task of cleaning the water during events like this.

The filters are made of gravel, sand and coal. They may need to be made thicker or possibly rebuilt, he said.

"Apparently the city didn't move very quickly" when problems were pointed out in a survey of the water treatment plant in December, said Shepherdstown Mayor Jim Auxer.

Mower said the state wants the city to double the amount of chlorine it puts in the water, increasing it from about one part per million as it comes out of the plant to about two parts per million.

"We'll require them to do this for the time being," Mower said.

A meeting has been tentatively set for Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall to discuss the issue and what needs to be done.

Auxer said he hopes to have members of the city water board and City Council meet with state officials. The public is invited.

"City officials are very grateful that the public has been real understanding about this, " Auxer said. "They didn't complain too much."

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