By Jim Melwert and Tim Jimenez
EAST NORRITON, Pa. (CBS) — Eighteen-thousand Montgomery County residents are still waiting for the “all-clear” with their water supply. The state requires two straight days of clean tests before the boil water advisory, that started Tuesday, can be lifted.
Residents and business owners are living anything but normal lives as the boil water advisory remains in effect for Pennsylvania American Water customers in portions of Montgomery County.
The townships affected by the boil advisory are East and West Norriton, Lower Providence, Whitpain, Worcester and Whitemarsh.
Pennsylvania American Water officials say there’s no sign of bacteria in the Norristown area water system. Company spokesman Terry Maenza says they collected samples at 11 locations living under the boil water advisory. Now, they wait and see how the second testing goes.
“In hopes that we have another set of clean samples, we’ll be able to lift the boil water advisory for those customers in the six affected communities,” Maenza said.
If all is well, the advisory could be lifted late on Friday. Officials say 18,000 customers have been affected and 150 businesses had to keep their doors closed.
On its web site, Pennsylvania American Water says it is providing alternate water sources for customers.
Water tankers will be stationed at the following locations and customers are asked to supply their own containers:
• Jeffersonville Fire Company at School Lane and Egypt Road
• Lower Providence Fire Company at Ridge Pike and East Mount Kirk Avenue
• East Norriton Fire Company on Swede Road
• East Norriton Fire Station at Germantown Pike and Whitehall Road
• Worcester on Reiner Road off Spring Hill Road
County officials say they reached out to over 400 restaurants and eating establishments in the affected areas, forcing them to close, signs pasted on front doors out here saying closed due to water advisory are all too common.
One of those stores is Panera Bread at the corner of Swede Road and Germantown Pike.
“We closed yesterday, I think around lunchtime, about 12 or 1 o’clock,” General Manager John Heyl said. “The health department stopped in and shut us down. Until we get word, we’re just going to hang tight.”
He says customers have been understanding since many of them are also affected by the advisory.
“Kind of just have to roll with, you know what I mean, obviously it’s frustrating you know they close the doors money’s not walking in the door, obviously a struggle. We’ll get through it, we’ll be fine.”
“Understand this has been very inconvenient for our customers. We certainly appreciate their patience and cooperation,” Maenza said.
The company says sediment in the Schuylkill River caused problems at a treatment plant. State Representative Mike Vereb spoke about holding a hearing about this situation (See Related Story) and Maenza says they’ll fully cooperate.
For more information, visit PA American Water FAQ