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UPDATE: Chilhowie boil water alert lifted

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 Update (2/23/2014): A boil water alert has been lifted for people served by Chilhowie water. Water in the town is now safe for consumption.
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The Virginia Department of Health, the Smyth County Health Department, and the Town of Chilhowie issued a boil water alert for those served by the Town of Chilhowie Waterworks.

A leak at the Chilhowie water treatment plant has shut down operations.  After filling all storage tanks, the water treatment plant was taken offline Wednesday.

Town Manager Bill Boswell says one way they’re trying to get water to residents is by pumping it from Washington County.

“They are going to be able to supply water to us, as soon as we are able to make interconnection between that line and the line that feeds their pump stations,” Boswell said.

Crews spent the afternoon laying pipe to make the connection, but were delayed a few hours when they hit rock.

Boswell said anytime two pipes are connected, it’s protocol to issue a boil order until the water can be tested.

Principal Mike Sturgill made sure the high school was ready for the boil water alert.

“In our cafeteria, we washed our fruits and vegetables today real early to make sure that was taken care of so we were able to serve the kids lunch. We also have bottled water available if that does come into effect so students can have a drink of water if need be,” Sturgill told News Channel 11.

He said they’re also doing their part to conserve. “We are also using paper trays and plastic silverware and stuff like that in our cafeteria so we don’t have to wash dishes or things like that other tan our basic pots and pans we cook with. As a community in a time of need here, we need to all pitch in and help out as far as conserving as much water as possible and only using water if it’s absolutely necessary,” he said.

Boswell asks that all members of the community think twice before they use water over the next few days.

“If they can conserve water, and can make choices, and not use water as they would in an ordinary day,” Boswell said.

Boswell said crews worked to make connections with both Washington and Smyth County lines, and that a connection should be made by Thursday evening.

The boil order will remain in effect for a few days after the connection is made. The water will be tested in order to ensure its safe to drink.

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