SMYTH COUNTY, Va. - A couple of neighborhoods near Marion are more than a week into a boil water advisory after a pipe burst last Wednesday.
We talked with Joe Copenhaver, the Thomas Bridge Water administrator, and he told us that even though his crews were able to get the water turned back on to about 350 people a, school, a church and a few businesses, repairing the water line is not a quick or simple fix.
"Right now we only have a temporary connection," copenhaver said. "We have a small line making the connection until we can reestablish the main line."
The water corporation had to hire a contractor out of Abingdon to bore a hole under Highway 11, and move 20 feet of earth.
Copenhaver says even though the water is back on, they still are urging caution. "The boil water notice is a requirement by the rules of the Virginia Department of Health," said Copenhaver.
He told News 5 that any time a line is breached there's a chance for dirt, debris and contaminants to get in the system. Boiling water should eliminate any bacteria.
Treating water at home has been a hassle for Megan Contrini and her husband Damien. They have three kids, and take care of three more. "It's been kind of difficult. Kids eat and drink all the time. We've mostly went out bought water to make it easier to make kool aid and stuff like that, " said Megan Contrini.
When the water was out last week, the Contrini's took their show on the road. "[We drove] to Atkins to take showers at my mom's and do laundry for work," said Contrini. "We took some pool water, heated it up and put it in the bathtub to take showers with kids and stuff."
Copenhaver says the water Thomas Bridge pumps out is some of the cleanest in the state, but that doesn't help the people in the Brown Subdivision and Hall Addition communities who are downstream of the break and still cooking water before drinking. "That will be lifted when we get the new six-inch main correctly installed, up and operating and have performed the proper testing of the water," said Copenhaver.
"I'm just glad they worked fast and got it back on," said Contrini.
The Thomas Bridge Water Corporation says they don't have the ability to test for bacteria on site, so samples will be sent to another lab. Thomas Bridge is working on another water leak and will return to working on the Highway 11 break soon. Copenhaver says they hope to restore full functionality next week.