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Sewer trouble leaves jail without water

By KEVIN KINNAIRD, Courier & Press staff writer (812) 464-7594 or

Some inmates at the Vanderburgh County Jail were without water for hours Sunday because of a sewage backup. Sgt. Jim Spence, a Vanderburgh County deputy, said the exact cause of the problem was unknown late Sunday, but a plumbing company was at the facility trying to correct the problem.

Inmates would be served water from pitchers if the water service was not soon restored, Spence said.

He said water was shut off to portions of the second and third floor between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday when the sewage backup was discovered.

Were doing everything we can to get it cleared up, Spence said.

Just before 10 p.m. Sunday, the jail had a population of 299 inmates, Spence said. The capacity of the facility is 268 prisoners. It was unknown Sunday how many of those inmates were without water.

At one point, water service was suspended to male inmates in six cells on the third floor, as well as two cells on the second floor, Spence said.

Water was also shut off to all of the cells for women inmates, he said.

Inmates who requested to use a restroom were transferred to another cell, according to Sgt. Mike Jones.

Although the affected prisoners were antsy, Spence said the jail was under control.

Several weeks ago, Spence said a similar problem occurred at the jail. Plumbers found the problem: A plastic bottle mashed inside the piping.

This time, the blockage occurred so far down in the pipes that plumbers were having difficulty locating it, Spence said.

-- (, March 13, 2000

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