‘DO NOT USE’ order for water lifted in Louisa County

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. – Louisa County officials say water in the county is safe to drink after the Virginia Department of Health lifted the “DO NOT USE” order saying that the water meets all current standards.

The decision came after two rounds of full Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) laboratory testing.

The “DO NOT USE” order was issued Thursday afternoon for the Town of Louisa and the Louisa County Water Authority customers.

Officials say all customers are advised to thoroughly flush your premise plumbing:

If you have outside faucets it is recommended to open these for an initial flush.  Then flush your taps (both hot and cold water) for at least 10-15 minutes and flush toilets several times to ensure that any trace contaminants are fully removed.  Open available windows and doors during this process to ensure full ventilation of any odors.  Dump any ice you may have.  The water distribution system was fully flushed – as is often the case when this occurs, users should expect some discoloration, sediment or odors during initial water use. This should clear up after a few minutes of flushing.

Louisa

Louisa

If you have questions about odors or this process, you are asked to contact the County’s Information Hotline at 540-967-3496.

"Extensive evaluation and external laboratory testing by state authorities of samples have shown the drinking water to be within acceptable parameters," county officials wrote. "However, personnel will continue to test the system today and over the weekend to ensure that the contaminant was fully removed.  Investigation of the source continues."

A mandatory evacuation order for the Town of Louisa was lifted early Friday morning after an investigation into an unknown gas detected along East Main Street concluded. The evacuation impacted more than 1,000 addresses near the Glen Mayre Shopping Center at 406 E. Main Street.

While the situation was difficult for Louisa residents, some are praising the way town officials handled the stressful situation.

"I think it was fantastic and the way they brought the school buses out and shuttled people to where they needed to go, to the shelters," Suzanne Chiles said. "Louisa always comes together. We experienced that earthquake and now we’re pretty much prepared for emergencies here."

The following information was provided Thursday night by Louisa:

What happened? The presence of an unknown gas was detected at locations on East Main Street during the day on Thursday, 11/29/18, possibly stemming from the water system in the area.

What is the response? Staff from the Water Authority, Town Water Management, Emergency Services and hazmat personnel have been monitoring the situation on a constant basis in an effort to find the source and ensure the safety of our citizens. A DO NOT USE order was issued for water system customers in and around the Town of Louisa at approximately 4 p.m. This order extends to all users and all uses of water. Staff followed up on a door to door basis to ensure awareness of the situation.

Is the area safe? A mandatory evacuation order was issued at approximately 9:30 p.m. [Thursday] for those within a ½ mile radius of the Glen Marye shopping center in the town of Louisa as a precautionary measure. Emergency personnel continue to monitor the situation. [UPDATE: The evacuation order was lifted Friday morning.]

Is a shelter available? An emergency shelter has been opened at Moss Nuckols Elementary School, 2055 Courthouse Road; Louisa, VA 23093. School bus transportation to the shelter is available on Main Street in front of the Courthouse.