All city of Columbia water customers could be off a boil water notice in the next few days, rather than weeks, city officials said at a morning news conference.
An active line break remains on a key, 24-inch line on Kay Street. Kay Street is in the St. Andrews area, running north off St. Andrews Road parallel to I-26 for several miles.
The good news Tuesday was:
▪ About 40 percent to 50 percent of the city’s 375,000 customers now can use their water straight from the tap, said Joey Jaco, Columbia’s director of utilities. They have intact water lines and are no longer at risk of bacterial contamination.
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▪ The three areas that have been underwater for more than a week are no longer underwater, and officials say the pipes there are not damaged.
▪ Jarvis Klapman Boulevard in West Columbia reopened before afternoon rush hour Tuesday, Mayor Steve Benjamin said. The city had been running a temporary line over the bridge from West Columbia to help fill the reservoir that serves Columbia’s downtown water treatment plant.
▪ The downtown reservoir is full. City officials have been working hard for days to fill it back up. Getting water to everyone who needs it had drawn down the level of the 30-million-gallon reservoir.
▪ Workers at 6 p.m. Monday completed building the rock dam that creates a second reservoir. The rock dam spans a 125-foot stretch of the canal.
The work ahead includes:
▪ Putting sandbags in front of the headgates that close off the canal near Broad River Road. “They’re old, and they don’t close very well,” Jaco said. But they are closed now, he said.
▪ Repair work on the 24-inch line on Kay Street.
▪ Repairing the canal itself, which could take six months. The wall that separates the canal water from the Congaree River was breached Monday, a day after record floods hit South Carolina.
STILL IN EFFECT
- A ban on the use of irrigation systems
- A call for customers to conserve water