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Paris water fails test; Boil order remains in place

Water samples taken in Paris have failed tests conducted by the Arkansas Department of Health, Mayor Daniel Rogers said Tuesday. That means Paris residents and customers of its water department remain under a boil order that has been in place since Friday, July 4.

Rogers said additional samples were delivered to the Arkansas Department of Health office in Fort Smith Tuesday afternoon for further testing. Results will not be known until sometime Wednesday afternoon.

Rogers said six samples were delivered to ADH’s Fort Smith office Monday and tested. One of those samples failed the test. Once a test is conducted, results aren’t known for 26 hours, Rogers said.

Paris and customers of its water department were put under a boil order last Friday after a pump failed Thursday night and dropped water pressure in the system. Once the pump failed, water was drawn from the city’s two tanks, eventually draining them by Friday morning. The city didn’t learn of the situation until Friday morning because an alarm system failed to alert the plant manager.

Rogers said the reason for the alarm failure is being looked into.

The problem with the raw water pump was corrected by 7:30 a.m. Friday and water pressure returned to normal Friday afternoon. The city’s water tanks began filling up Friday afternoon and were full by Friday night, Rogers said.

Meanwhile, a boil order was issued Friday morning because of ADH regulations, Rogers said.

“The ADH requires a boil order when the water lines loose pressure,” Rogers said.

Rogers and water department personnel called associations which supply Paris water to outside users and the city of Scranton, Paris’ largest water customer. Rogers also asked Paris resident to refrain from shooting fire works over the Fourth of July weeknd because of the risk of starting a fire.

“Most people took it pretty well,” Rogers said. “I think people understand that sometimes things happen. I also think they knew we were working as fast as we could to restore pressure.”

The boil order sent residents to retail outlets in Paris to purchase bottled water by the case or gallon jugs.

Restaurants also had to deal with boiling water before serving it or, in some cases, shutting down.

“The main complaints have come from restaurants,” Rogers said.

Rogers said he’s going to look into the nature of why an alarm wasn’t sent.

“We want to make sure it doesn’t happen again, so I’m also going to look into getting a back-up system for the alarm,” he said.

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