Water restored in Cayce following 17-hour outage

A water main break Monday left hundreds of residences and businesses without water and closed 10 Cayce and West Columbia area public schools.

A 16-inch water main broke around 1 a.m. Monday at the water plant near Old Dunbar Road and U.S. 321, Cayce police spokesman Lt. Jeff Simmons said.

Many residences and businesses – affecting thousands of people – did not have water Monday until about 6 p.m., said Cayce officials. The 10,000 customers of the Cayce water service were affected, according to city spokeswoman Ashley Hunter. About 8,000 of those customers were residences and about 2,000 are businesses.

A 24-hour boil water advisory is in place for the entire town. People should boil all drinking and cooking water for at least a minute before using until 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Hundreds of gallons of free water was handed out by the town at the Cayce Fire Station at 2 Leverne Jumper Road. Eldery and disabled residents were able to call and have water delivered.

Classes in Lexington 2 will resume Tuesday, Superintendent Jim Hinton said.

Bottled water has been brought in and students and staff members are being asked to bring on their own as well, assistant superintendent Jim Hinton said.

"We'll have plenty to go around," he said.

Food preparation staff will use bottled water in preparing meals, he said. "They've told us they will be able to work with it."

Cayce Mayor Elise Partin said Monday the cause of the break was “old water pipes and freezing temperatures.”

According to the National Weather Service, the low temperature recorded Sunday night and early Monday morning hit 22 degrees around 7 a.m. Monday. Temperatures went below freezing around midnight and stayed under 32 degrees until about 9 a.m. Monday.

Cayce resident Tanya Speaks, who lives on Old Dunbar Road near the water plant, said ordinary life turned into a nightmare.

“When I got up this morning, I couldn’t even brush my teeth or wash my face,” Speaks, a Cayce resident since 2000, said Monday. “I had to go to a relative’s house 20 minutes away to brush my teeth.”

It's the second major disruption of water service in the city of 13,000 residents since August 2010.

City officials are discussing the need to update many water and sewer lines as they look over projects that could be proposals included in a package of improvements that would be paid for by a new sales tax in Lexington County. That plan is due to go on the ballot for voters approval in November 2014.

Contributing: Staff writers Tim Flach, John Monk and Chris Winston.