More than 40,000 homes and businesses in Irmo, St. Andrews and Northeast Richland no longer need to boil their water before drinking and cooking with it.
The advisory was lifted in those areas Sunday as repairs continue on Columbia’s flood-damaged water treatment plant downtown.
It was the second repeal of the health safety standard in two days, bringing the total to nearly 73,000 customers able to turn on faucets without worry.
New areas for which boiling is no longer necessary are:
▪ Irmo, St. Andrews, Dutch Square and west of the Broad River.
▪ Parts of Northeast Richland between Percival and Hard Scrabble roads; and north of Sparkleberry Lane and North Brickyard Road, including areas in and around the Village at Sandhill, Lake Carolina, the Summit, the Woodlands and Woodcreek Farm neighborhoods.
Other areas will follow in stages as conditions permit, Columbia spokeswoman Leshia Utsey said Sunday night.
Homes and businesses outside the areas declared safe by City Hall need to continue boiling it before drinking or cooking to avoid illness, officials said.
The latest repeal of the advisory came as work continued on fixing the plant, a project that city officials said has aspects that are “slow and tedious.”
That description came in a report posted on City Hall’s website and social media.
Work under way includes:
▪ Adding material to the levee to fortify it, an effort expected to last through Monday and possibly beyond.
▪ Bringing in material to close the breach, described as a challenge since it must be done without destabilizing the levee.
▪ Seeking to reduce the river flow upstream so work can proceed.
▪ Inspecting the canal twice daily to look for new dike breaches. “There are some signs of slope stability issues and sloughing (softening) further upstream that are being watched closely but are not presently a concern,” the report said.
▪ Continuing to add water to the canal reservoir for adequate operation.
West Columbia officials finished extending nearly a half-mile supply line across the Gervais Street bridge Sunday to help provide up to 8 million gallons daily from that city and neighboring Cayce.
Help from that line is available immediately and will be used as needed, officials said.
But it’s not the total solution to bringing safe water to all the remaining city of Columbia customers.
Refilling the downtown reservoir will continue with water pumped in from the Broad River and brought in on trucks, Utsey said.
The reservoir had 13 million gallons at the start of Sunday, well below the “comfort level” of 30 million gallons, Utsey said.
Replenishing it “takes a whole lot of time,” she said.
Repairs at the plant are under way after a 60-foot section of the canal dike collapsed Oct. 5, after the flood-swollen Congaree River went over the wall during record rain the previous day. A second smaller section of the dike fell Wednesday.
City, state and private work teams are building a temporary boulder dam across the dam to create a second reservoir and fix the hole in the dike.
City officials continue to call for conservation as repairs continue, with landscape irrigation banned.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483
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See the latest map of areas where water is now safe, and where it still needs to be boiled, with this story online.
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