Columbia residents asked to limit water use while equipment is repaired

Friday, July 6, 2012 | 12:27 p.m. CDT; updated 2:05 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 6, 2012

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Water and Light Department is asking residents to lessen water use until 6 a.m. Saturday due to equipment repair at the water treatment plant.

A broken rake — which keeps sediment stirred up during water treatment — caused a malfunction in one of the four water softening basins Friday morning.

Consumption has ranged from 20 to 23 million gallons each day this week, and Connie Kacprowicz, utilities services specialist for the Water and Light Department, said the remaining three basins should be able to pump 24 million gallons. While the department expects to keep up with normal household usage during the repair, Kacprowicz said it is important for the city to retain enough excess water for firefighting purposes.

"Our biggest problem is we like to keep the water shortage facilities at at least 75 percent capacity, and we’re estimated to drop down to 50 percent today," she said. "Especially with it being so dry, if there were a fire, it could deplete the supply."

Kacprowicz said the department is asking residents to delay unnecessary water use such as car washing and irrigation until Saturday morning. As of noon, Kacprowicz said crews were still working to repair the problem.

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