April 13, 2011 - A break in a main Bethlehem water transmission line left some customers with dirty water or little to no water Wednesday morning. The Bethlehem Area School District had to cancel classes at 5 schools and the city had to issue a “Boil Water Advisory”.
Bethlehem water customers who have experienced a drop in water pressure since Tuesday morning are advised to boil their water because conditions likely caused a backflow. A backflow increases the chances for water picking up disease-causing organisms.
The break was caused by a contractor accidently drilling through a 34-inch wide transmission line near Stefko Boulevard in the area of the former Minsi Trail Inn restaurant.The initial break and subsequent work to shut down the line and reroute water supplies through other lines caused water pressure to drop for customers mainly in the Northeast and South Side sections of the city and Freemansburg.
The city was able to kept the Sands Casino Resort supplied with water, but Bethlehem Area School District had to close schools because there was not enough pressure to flush toilets.
The city expects water pressure to be restored by Wednesday afternoon to all customers, except those at higher elevations in Freemansburg and the South Side. The test for coliform bacteria takes 24 hours to complete so customers should continue boiling their water at least through Thursday afternoon.
If tests results show the water is safe, the city will lift the "Boil Water Advisory". In the mean time, any customer who experienced a drop in water pressure or had no water should boil water for a full minute to kill off any possible bacteria if it will be used for drinking, ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes or cooking.
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