EP urges people to conserve water

EAST PALESTINE – Village residents need to conserve water and make sure their homes are properly heated or else the two reservoirs will continue to lose water.

John Jurjavcic, the village’s water and wastewater superintendent, said Wednesday the plant is trying to get the reservoirs back up after several waterline leaks around town.

He said the leaks are the result of residential waterlines freezing and breaking, although one business had a large impact on the reservoir depletion after its sprinkler system “blew totally apart.”

Jurjavcic would not disclose the name or location of the commercial business.

The plant began noticing the problem Tuesday in areas throughout town and employees have been going house to house to try to stop the leaks. The business’ malfunctioning sprinkler system was discovered Wednesday morning, he said.

In some instances people are not leaving their homes properly heated while they are away at work, while other leaks were found at unoccupied homes without heat at all, he explained.

“This is the worst it has been in a while. We haven’t had temperatures this cold for how many years. People have to pay attention. They can avoid this by keeping their homes heated,” he said, adding that people who own property should also maintain any unoccupied buildings they have.

Temperatures hovered around 20 degrees in East Palestine Wednesday afternoon and affected waterlines were not village-owned lines, which posed some difficulty for the plant to correct.

Jurjavcic said he and other plant employees have been going around to the unoccupied homes physically trying to get through the windows of basements in order to shut the water off.

“I’m just trying to get everything back up to operating level the reservoirs are down pretty good. We are just trying to isolate these water leaks and pumping water,” he said.

During the course of the interview a dispatcher advised Jurjavcic via radio that water was coming out of a house on Wood Street and leaking onto the back porch.

“All these little leaks add up,” he said.

Residents should conserve water until further notice.