The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services has issued a mandatory order to boil and conserve water for residents of the Village of Fredonia and the Town of Pomfret.
At 7:30 AM, one of Fredonia’s larger, deeper water mains lost a lot of water due to a major leak. That leak has since been repaired, but the order to boil and conserve will remain in effect for at least the next couple of days.
Chautauqua County Water Resource Specialist Natalie Whiteman said the length of time that testing the water takes to make sure it’s safe is what slows down the process.
"The testing... we literally regrow any bacteria that may be in the water," said Whiteman, "so we have something that is large enough to be visible to the naked eye. Not just an individual colony of bacteria. That process takes a 24-hour cycle."
Whiteman said samples are being taken today. The results from those will come back tomorrow afternoon. Another round of samples will be taken tomorrow, meaning late Monday is the earliest possible time the order could be lifted. The latest, is harder to determine.
"It depends on if we get bad bacteria samples in the first round of samples," said Whiteman. "It could go on another one or two days after that. Likely no later than Wednesday."
Boiled or bottled water should be used for cooking, drinking and washing dishes. Residents are advised to use only as much tap water as is essential. That includes not watering lawns, plants, cars, and driveways.
The order will remain in effect until further notice.
WBFO will keep you updated as more information becomes available.