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Water main break closes Greene County schools, offices

A water main break Thursday morning forced schools and government offices to close and prompted yet another boil water advisory in Greene County, where leaks and breaks in pipes over the past several weeks have exposed the drinking water supply to risk of E. coli contamination.

This time the trouble was centralized near the town of Stanardsville.

While water was restored by Thursday afternoon and schools and offices were set to reopen Friday, the boil water advisory remains in effect for the area.

“We’ve experienced a major water main break near the Town of Stanardsville as of 8:30 a.m.,” Terry Beigie with Greene County said in an email Thursday morning. “We’re still trying to get all the information from the scene regarding the extent of the break and the length of time water will be out.”

Greene County Public Schools spokesman Chad Saylor said Thursday morning that the water main break prompted the school district to cancel all classes at every school, other than Ruckersville Elementary School, for the day.

“Ruckersville Elementary School will remain open and is not impacted by this issue,” Saylor said in an email.

All Greene County schools were set to open Friday morning, Saylor said later in the day.

In an announcement sent out Thursday afternoon, Saylor said Greene County Public Schools will be open and operational with the following precautions:

All school water fountains will be turned off. “Students can bring bottled water from home or receive bottled water from the schools.”

Breakfast and lunch will be served, per Virginia Department of Health guidelines.

Although classrooms and offices will reopen Friday, the Greene County Department of Water and Sewer, in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Health, is advising certain Stanardsville residents to use boiled tap water or bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes as a safety precaution.

“Failure to follow this advisory could result in stomach or intestinal illness,” Greene County said in a Thursday afternoon statement. “This precaution is necessary due to a service interruption for the town of Stanardsville and some adjacent areas, and the possibility of the presence of E. coli bacteria from infiltration into the distribution system.”

The advisory affects customers on the following roadways:

Spotswood Trail west of Ice House Road.

Barrington Road.

Lucille Lane.

Holmes Run Road.

Holmes Run Place.

Billiard Drive.

Maple Creek Road.

Lambs Lane.

Shiloh Road.

Madison Road.

Childs Road.

Wesley Street.

Commonwealth Drive.

Ford Avenue.

Octonia Road.

Brush Lane.

Krystal Court.

Judges Road.

Bray Road.

Village Road.

Willow Lane.

William Mills Road.

Pendleton Way.

Rectory Lane.

Blakey Avenue.

Stanard Street.

Celt Road.

Monroe Drive.

Reservoir Drive.

Wetsel Drive.

Jack Russel Lane.

“Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, beverage and food preparation, making ice (including automatic ice makers), and brushing teeth until further notice,” the county said in its statement. “Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water and is the preferred method to assure that tap water is safe to drink. Bring all tap water to a rolling boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using. Alternatively, use bottled water.”

For those without gas or electricity, or who are otherwise unable to boil water:

Use liquid household bleach to disinfect water. The bleach product should be recently purchased, free of additives and scents, and contain a hypochlorite solution of at least 5.25%. Public health officials recommend adding eight drops of bleach (about a quarter of a teaspoon) to each gallon of water. The water should be stirred and allowed to stand for at least 30 minutes before use.

Or use water purification tablets. But be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

The water main break is the third time in the past four weeks a boil water advisory has been issued in Greene County.

The first advisory on Nov. 13 affected Mountain Lakes Water Company customers in the Twin Lakes and Green Mountain Lakes communities. That advisory was lifted a week later.

The second advisory issued on Nov. 28 affected Ruckersville residents. That advisory was lifted on Nov. 30.

In both instances, cracks and breaks in water pipes were blamed.

It is anticipated the latest water main break will be remedied within a week.

For more information, residents are encouraged to contact the Greene County Department of Water and Sewer at (434) 985-1348.


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