Saturday, January 20, 2018
News Roundup

Oldsmar residents: Keep boiling tap water

OLDSMAR — Following a water main break over the weekend, a "boil water" notice will continue to be in effect in this city until late Tuesday or early Wednesday, officials said Monday.

Oldsmar residents are being told to boil their tap water for one minute as a precaution before they drink it or cook with it.

A broken 8-inch water pipe left much of Oldsmar with little or no water over the weekend as city staffers struggled to find the leak. Eventually, a private citizen on a dirt bike found the broken pipe on Sunday.

"We're going to let the dust settle, then meet and find out what happened and discuss areas where we did not do a good job," said Mayor Jim Ronecker, who complained of a lack of communication. "It was frustrating. I was getting the news from Bay News 9. I don't think we did a good job of notifying our residents in a timely manner."

Other City Council members thought that city staffers had done all they could — including going up in helicopters to try to spot the leak — although they felt bad for businesses and residents who were without water.

"Don't place blame on anybody, because everybody worked too hard," said Vice Mayor Jerry Beverland. "That broken line couldn't have been hidden any worse than it was hidden. It was right underneath a palm tree, which hid it from the air."

"It was frustrating to not have water for the entire weekend," said council member Linda Norris. "At least my neighbors weren't that upset, as along as they were kept informed. I'm just going by what I saw and what my neighbors said."

City Manager Bruce Haddock said crews restored water service to about a third of the city within 24 hours, and to the rest of the city in 36 hours. He said the resident who found the broken pipe informed the city before calling the news media, but the city had to confirm it was really the source of the problem before telling residents.

"You wouldn't want to say the leak is discovered, and then three hours later find out that's not really it," Haddock said. "If this was something you could choreograph, then I guess it wouldn't be an emergency."

City Clerk Ann Stephan said that during the water outage, Oldsmar updated residents through its website, on Facebook and on Twitter. Oldsmar also made automated phone calls to residents who signed up for "code red" emergency calls on the city's website, myoldsmar.com.

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