NORRISTOWN — A water main break Monday morning at a key intersection in Norristown resulted in a boil water advisory for roughly 33,500 utility customers, according to a spokesperson for Pennsylvania American Water.

The incident at the “24-inch water main” happened around 8:30 a.m. at the intersection of Markley and Marshall streets in Norristown, according to Laura Martin, director of communications for Pennsylvania American Water.

Martin said area residents using the system reported “either low water pressure or no water.” Crews responded to the area and “pressure was restored quite quickly.”

Martin cited a “low pressure event” as a reason for establishing the boil water advisory. She added that Pennsylvania American Water officials are meeting the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection specifications by conducting “two rounds of taking sampling, and running tests just to confirm that water quality was not impacted.”

While Martin couldn’t gauge exactly how long the advisory would last, she said the notices are typically in effect for about 48 hours.

Customers in the affected areas were notified via Pennsylvania American Water’s mass customary emergency notification system, where they either received a phone call, as well as an email or a text message for those subscribing to that service, according to Martin. They will be alerted in the “same way when [we are] able to lift it,” Martin said.

Pennsylvania American Water customers in the Norristown and Bridgeport boroughs, as well as areas of West Norriton, East Norriton, Upper Merion, Plymouth, Lower Providence, Whitpain, Worcester, Whitemarsh and Perkiomen townships should take precautions in the interim, according to a statement from the water utility. Martin clarified that there are approximately 33,500 customers in the Norristown water system.

Visit pennsylvaniaamwater.com and click on “alerts” for a comprehensive map.

While the incident occurred in Norristown, Martin said that an “event that causes low pressure or a loss of system pressure, prompted the company to comply with state statutes and broaden the scope of the boil water advisory.

“This is a main transmission line that serves parts of the rest of the whole Norristown system,” Martin said. “So there was no way to specifically isolate the water just to that area for a boil water advisory purposes.”

“It was just because with the amount of water that was lost with the initial break this morning, even though we had it shut down and that water pressure restored very quickly, the fact that there was a loss of water pressure at all in different parts of the system instituted the need for the boil water advisory, according to regulations,” she continued.

According to a statement from Pennsylvania American Water, the incident could result in “an increased chance that the water might contain disease causing organisms.”

They include “bacteria, viruses and parasites, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea and associated headaches,” according to the company.

Additionally, infants, elderly people and others with compromised immune systems should take precautions as they could be more vulnerable.

Affected customers are advised to use bottled water or heat the water at a rolling bottle for one minute and let it cool before use, according to Pennsylvania American Water.

Martin added the Pennsylvania company would be sure to inform customers about any changes related to the boil water advisory status.

“Of course this is not a situation that anyone wants to have to go through, but it’s really just to help make sure that our water quality wasn’t impacted, that’s why we’re doing all the testing right now, and ... we appreciate their patience and their understanding and their cooperation,” she said.

For more information, visit pennsylvaniaamwater.com, or call the company's safe drinking water hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

@rachelravina on Twitter

Rachel Ravina is a journalist covering news and lifestyle features in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She grew up in Blue Bell and graduated from Penn State. She's also a news enthusiast who is passionate about covering topics people want to read.

comments powered by Disqus