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Shepherdstown goes dry after big water main break

March 22, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA.

Portable toilets were being ordered for Shepherd University students and classes have been canceled at the university, Shepherdstown Elementary School and Shepherdstown Middle School today because of a water main break that occurred Tuesday near the city's water treatment plant on Princess Street, officials said.

Shepherdstown Town Council member Howard Mills said he was told that a water tank along W.Va. 45 west of the city lost much of its water after the break occurred.

Mills said Tuesday night that city workers will have to repair the line and refill the tank.

The town's Web site said water will not be available until this morning.

Shepherdstown Fire Chief Ross Morgan said he was told that the entire town was without water service, although some homes might have a small amount of pressure.

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In case of any fire emergencies, the department will have backup tankers respond automatically, he said.

Morgan said late Tuesday that a high-pressure line broke and service could be restored by daybreak.

"It's fairly sizable," Jefferson County Superintendent of Schools R. Steven Nichols said of the water main break.

Shepherd University officials decided late Tuesday to cancel classes today and shut down all administrative offices at the school, university spokeswoman Valerie Owens said.

About 1,000 students live on campus, and school officials decided to have portable toilets delivered to the school for those students, school President David L. Dunlop said Tuesday night.

School officials also plan to have bottled water delivered to those students this morning, Dunlop said.

The water main break affected businesses, including the Yellow Brick Bank Restaurant on West German Street.

The restaurant had to stop serving food at 8 p.m. because workers could not wash dishes, bartender Angela Braithwaite said.

"It's been awful," she said.

The Shepherdstown Day Care Center was closed today because of the water main break, according to a Jefferson County dispatcher.

Calls to the city's water treatment plant were met with a recorded message that said the plant was experiencing a "systemwide distribution problem" and that low water pressure was being reported throughout the system.

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