INDIANA--Walkerton Under Bottled-Water Order : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Walkerton under bottled-water order

By MARILYN KLIMEK Tribune Staff Writer March 17, 2000

WALKERTON -- The town's 2,500 residents will not know until late this afternoon exactly how long the bottled-water order issued Thursday will remain in effect.

"Hopefully, this won't last long, but you never know," said town Clerk-Treasurer Kathryn Tiede Chrapliwy late Thursday night.

About 3 p.m. Thursday the Indiana Department of Environmental Management informed town officials that residents should not consume any municipal drinking water.

Due to problems related to replacing a fire hydrant in Place Park Wednesday, the town's water pressure had fallen below the 20-pound pressure mark.

On Wednesday, town officials complied with state law and issued a boil-water order.

"(Thursday) the state came back and started to run tests. They felt we wouldn't get results back from the tests until (today). As a precautionary measure, they decided we should not have any drinking water," said Chrapliwy.

That meant each one of the town's 858 households had to be notified -- somehow, some way -- that residents should only use bottled water.

"I didn't have to blink an eye, and everybody was there," said Chrapliwy. "That's the kind of people we have here. They just rally."

Volunteers included Chrapliwy's three-member office staff, the town police and volunteer fire departments as well as 55 to 60 residents.

"We used the fire trucks and amplifying system, police department cars with red lights blinking; we went to every door. We had bulletins," said Chrapliwy.

In the end, the task was accomplished Thursday.

However, the job is not done as many of those same people will be mobilized to distribute bottled water -- purchased at many area convenience and grocery stores Thursday night -- throughout the day today.

"We thought it would be better if we came back in at 6 a.m.," said Chrapliwy. "The bulletin said they could come to clerk's office and pick up water. A crew will be standing by to pick up phones. If residents can't come tomorrow, we'll deliver it."

Water department workers Wednesday were attempting to replace a fire hydrant in the park and cut off a valve when the crisis situation began, according to Chrapliwy.

While the work was being done, the walls of the hydrant's piping caved in.

"We, of course, could not fix the broken main at that point," said Chrapliwy. "All the dirt caved in. We had to pump that out. In the process of doing that, water pressure in town went below 20 pounds."

IDEM contacted the National Guard, said Chrapliwy, on behalf of the town.

If the bottled-water order continues beyond this afternoon, then the National Guard likely will bring a tanker in to help supply additional water, she said.

St. Patrick's School was not scheduled to conduct classes today, according to Chrapliwy. She said she had not heard from John Glenn School Corp. officials as to whether its Walkerton school facilities would be open today.

To contact the town clerk-treasurer's office, located at 510 Roosevelt St., call 586-3711.

To reach Marilyn Klimek:

-- (, March 17, 2000

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