HOPEWELL, Va. -- The Hopewell Health Department urged residents and restaurants to comply with the boil alert until "water quality is restored" after city officials issued the order for Hopewell and some Prince George County subdivisions Saturday afternoon.
The health department urged residents to follow these safety practices:
- Bring water to a boiling roll for 1 minute and let cool before using
- Use Bottled Water or ‘Cooled’ boiled water for:
- Brushing teeth
- Washing dishes, etc.
- Continue to conserve water until further notice
Officials warned that restaurants and food vendors "must comply" with the following safety practices:
- Food preparation workers must wear regulation plastic gloves.
- Tap water must not be used for cleaning or food preparation unless disinfected by a rolling boil for at least one minute. Water used for cleaning food preparation equipment should contain sanitizer bleach for equipment wipe down.
- Only disposable eating utensils, paper or plastic plates, cups, etc. may be used.
- No fountain drinks may be served.
- Ice from ice making machines must not be served to the public.
- Only bottled water, drinks, canned sodas, etc. may be served to the public.
Officials also said health inspectors would be "making rounds to ensure compliance."
Cafe owner: 'Water pressure kept going down'
The boil order caused some businesses, like the Shrimp Shack, to close Saturday.
"We are closed due to City's water issues!!" a sign posted Saturday evening at the location read. "We have another location in Colonial Heights."
Other businesses stayed open.
"We were getting ready to shut down and then had a bunch of people come in," said Thomas Hughes, who owns the Main Street Cafe.
Hughes said staffers noticed something was wrong early in the afternoon.
"Before the notification came out, we noticed the water pressure kept going down," Hughes recalled. "Then we talked to some other people in the building and they said the same thing... Then we found out some other places were having the same problems."
As a result, Hughes stocked up on bottled and spring water to try and keep his cafe open.
"[We've had] people calling, wanting to know if we were open, so that's why we stayed open," Hughes said. "It's a little inconvenience, but we've managed."
Plant power outage prompts boil order
Virginia America Water Company officials said Hopewell residents and Prince George County residents who live in the New Birchett Estates, Cedar Creek, Cedar Creek West, Strattford Woods and Mullberry Woods subdivisions should boil their water.
"Impacted customers should bring tap water to a rolling boil for one minute and allow cooling before using for consumption, drinking, making baby formula, ice cubes, washing vegetables and fruit, and for brushing teeth," officials said.
Officials warned that while residents may start seeing an increase in flow and pressure, they should continue to boil their water as the order will likely be in place for at least 30-40 hours.
Additionally, water company officials urged residents to conserve and reduce all "non-essential water use," like laundry and car washing, until further notice.
The order was prompted by "electrical issues" at the Virginia America Water Company plant that caused "low water pressure or no water," Hopewell Intergovernmental and Public Affairs Director Herbert Bragg said.
Dominion Energy crews were spotted working outside the plant Saturday night.
Less than two years ago, a burst pipe at the Hopewell water plant on Easter of 2018. That prompted a similar boil advisory that lasted two days.
Officials said bottled water is available for impacted residents and can be picked up at Hopewell High School (400 S. Mesa Drive) from 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday.
"Public Safety staff will direct motorist into the water distribution point," city officials said.
Schools Closed Monday
Additionally, Hopewell Public Schools officials said school was cancelled for students on Monday because of the boil order.
However, officials said that teachers and staff should still report to work as Monday will now be a teacher workday.
"Tuesday, January 28 will remain a teacher workday," school system officials said. "No students should report either day."