According to City of Union Utilities Director Joe Nichols — who was signing the release orders around 8:15 a.m. today (Friday, Feb. 19) — an issue with a 16-inch water main air release valve that created a leak north of the city on Jonesville Highway on Thursday afternoon has been corrected. The boil advisories previously issued for certain city water and Rocky Creek Water customers has been lifted.
The city and Rocky Creek — which is a city water customer — advised Thursday evening that water customers on Jonesville Highway from Connector and Sonoco roads in the city and in the Bonham area — consisting of those on or near Sonoco, Timberlake, Blue Ridge, Bob Little, Edgewood and Bonham Station roads — to vigorously boil their water for at least one full minute prior to drinking and cooking.
Nichols explained Friday morning the advisories were a precautionary measure because anytime water pressure is lost, there is a possibility of contamination.
A contractor for the South Carolina Department of Transportation was cutting grass in the highway right of way on Jonesville Highway north of the city Thursday afternoon and hit a manhole which contained an air release valve on a 16-inch water main. According to Nichols, when the valve was struck the assembly was broken away from the main, resulting in the release of a large amount of water.
“After isolating the system by closing valves, we were able to shut off the valving to the 16-inch main and correct the issue by turning off the tapping valve into the 16-inch main,” Nichols said.
He was unsure when the valve assembly was broken but estimated it happened around 2 p.m. Thursday. By 6 p.m., the city had started filling its elevated tanks again as the problem was corrected.
Nichols added the city was fortunate to not lose a lot of pressure because of the issue.
As another precaution, the city will be monitoring the water system today and doing some water sampling, with samples being sent to the state department of health and environmental control for testing, just to be sure there are no other issues because of the complication.