Free water for Petersburg residents after water main break

Posted at 1:55 PM, Apr 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-08 14:11:20-04

PETERSBURG, Va (WTVR) - Gallons of water were issued in Petersburg Tuesday morning following Monday's water line break. The rupture happened near the intersection of S. Crater Road and Morton Avenue.

Close to 4,500 businesses and residents in eastern Petersburg were affected. Many experienced little to no water flow, as well as some water discoloration.

"It has a funny smell to it," Petersburg resident Preston Thompson said.

A boil water advisory has been in place following the break.

Additionally, the city of Petersburg and Food Lion teamed up to give out free gallons of drinking water to families in need.

"We pulled up, went right through and came out. Fast service," Thompson recalled after receiving his water.

Unfortunately the repairs to the water line did not happen by 1:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, as first predicted.

"Water issues happen," Petersburg resident Shirnell Roney said. "I'm just glad they have the resources to help us along."

The break did have a ripple effect, causing not only issues inside homes but schools too. Classes at Walnut Hill Elementary School had to be cancelled. Faculty members were still required to go in, but students stayed home.

"Safety first," Petersburg School Spokeswoman Nicole Bell said. "If there is no running water, it's a health risk; it's a health hazard. We can't have kids in the school building."

The decision to close school left 8-year-old Starshauna Thompson learning a chemistry lesson from her grandfather outside the classroom.

"He said we're not supposed to drink the water because he thinks it has some chemicals in it," Starshauna recalled. "He doesn't want me to get hurt."

It appears others in the area who came out for the free water were also concerned, as they now patiently wait for the water advisory to expire.

City leaders said  it is unclear when the water line will be repaired, however they are hopeful the problem will be fixed later Tuesday.