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UPDATED: Petersburg resident must boil water for 24 more hours

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) –A water main break in the City of Petersburg will be temporarily repaired by 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, but the city said thousands of residents and businesses should continue to boil their water for 24 hours after the problem is fixed.

A 16-­inch main water line near the intersection of South Crater Road and Morton Avenue broke Monday afternoon.

The impacted area runs from South Sycamore Street and North Boulevard to the Prince George County border, including the 460/County Drive corridor area.

Water is being supplied from two large holding tanks, one located at the former Walnut Mall site and the other off County Drive,” Petersburg spokeswoman Joanne Williams said. “The Petersburg Department of Public Works is preparing to transfer water from a five million gallon holding tank located off South Sycamore Street if necessary.”

A spokeswoman with City of Petersburg schools said all schools will be open Tuesday, however, schools have purchased bottle waters for students and staff, that will be available at any time and placed everywhere throughout the building

Several Petersburg residents living within the affected area told CBS 6 they had concerns about the way the city alerted them about the problem.

Ramon Gaither’s grandson brushes his teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.

We found him getting ready to use tap water for his nighttime brush, unaware of Petersburg’s boil alert.

“What boil water alert?” Gaither asked

Petersburg WaterGaither said he saw the work going on up the hill from his house, but did not realize it would impact him until CBS 6 knocked on his door.

“Thanks to y’all, it didn’t happen,” Gaither said about his grandson using tap water to brush his teeth.

Crews said a large water main broke Sunday night.

The repair work means water pressure in the area is low, which could lead to dirty water.

“It could be normal dirt, it could be other types of contaminants in general that could get in the water system,” Steven Hicks, Petersburg’s Director of Public Works, said.

The city said it alerted about 4,500 customers Monday afternoon to boil their water through the media, Facebook, and emails to city council members.

But, one woman CBS6 spoke with raised concerns about that process.

“There were not alerts sent out…no messages, phone calls, or anything,” Janice Kelley said.

Kelley worries some people still may not know to boil their water.

“If I didn’t hear about it, I’m sure a lot of people have not,” Kelley said.

City spokeswoman Joanne Williams said Petersburg is in the process of setting up a reverse call alert system for situation like this one, and it should be up and running within the month.

The City of Petersburg is partnering with Food Lion to distribute free water to residents experiencing low water pressure beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Two gallons of water will be given to each family.

The water will be distributed at the Food Lion store located at 2120 South Crater Road while supplies last.

Anyone with questions is asked to call 804-733­‐2349.

Stay with WTVR.com and CBS 6 News for updates on this developing story.

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