A boil-water advisory that affected about 22,000 Rotterdam residents was lifted at 6:40 p.m. Thursday after the Schenectady County Department of Environmental Health determined that the town’s water was safe to drink.
Residents of most of the town were without drinkable water since Monday morning, after an unprecedented six water main breaks occurred and left many residents without any water at all for more than 24 hours. The advisory applied to residents in the 12303 and 12306 ZIP codes; Rotterdam Junction residents were not affected.
The town remains in a state of emergency, as a 21-inch valve failed on Bernard Street following Tuesday’s repairs of the last of the broken water mains, according to a news release from the town.
Until the valve is fixed, the town can only operate “one or two” of its four wells, which has led to a loss of water pressure in some parts of Rotterdam and too much pressure in other areas, the release said.
Town highway and water workers will begin the repairs next week, during which time a “handful of houses” in the Bernard Street and Wallace Avenue area will be without water, the release said. Town officials will go door-to-door to notify those residents.
Use of water for nonessential purposes, such as lawn sprinkling and filling pools, is still prohibited, the release said. Burning of any kind is also not allowed.
Residents were advised to flush all water lines for 3 to 5 minutes before using them again.
During the advisory, residents flocked to a water station at the former Curry Road Shopping Plaza, where town officials and Red Cross workers provided free water. On Wednesday, the station closed early after three town workers were injured by a lightning strike in the afternoon. The station reopened Thursday morning.
One business, Tops American Grill, Bakery & Bar, paid a water company about $1,000 a day to keep a tank of water on site in order to stay open.
Some residents noted the irony of not having drinkable water Tuesday, when water bills were due to the town. The flat water fee was increased from $25 to $75 by the Town Board in February.
Tuesday, with a recorded high of at least 90 degrees, was also the hottest day of the year so far.