Boil water order remains in effect for customers in Richmond, Hope Valley

Boil water order remains in effect for customers in Richmond, Hope Valley


RICHMOND — Now approaching its sixth day, the boil water advisory issued last Saturday is continuing for 132 customers in Richmond and a section of Hope Valley. The town began chlorinating the water system Wednesday on orders from the Rhode Island Department of Health, and there has been no indication from the state as to when the boil water advisory will be lifted.

Two Chariho schools have been affected. Students were off this week, but Superintendent Barry Ricci said he had already prepared for the students’ return on Monday. In an announcement sent to parents, Ricci said, “For as long as the alert remains in place, bottled water will be available to students and staff at the Hope Valley Elementary School and at the Richmond Elementary School. Further, adjustments are being made to food preparation and sanitization protocols in both buildings.”

Richmond has two water tanks, one on Old Kenyon Road that is currently being refurbished, and a newer tank off Route 138. Water service to 182 customers in Richmond and 50 customers in Hope Valley who are connected to Richmond’s water line was interrupted on Saturday afternoon when workers removed a water monitor antenna from the older tank, which caused the antenna on the new tank to malfunction. The faulty antenna indicated that there was a three-day supply of water in the tank when it was actually running dry. Service was restored in three hours, but residents were asked to boil their water as a precaution until tests for bacteria were completed.

Even after two sets of tests showed no contamination, the health department kept the boil water advisory in effect and also ordered the town to begin chlorinating the water system to thoroughly disinfect it. On Thursday morning, the town was told to continue with chlorination.

The lack of drinkable tap water was making things especially difficult for businesses that serve food, like the Wood River Inn in Wyoming. The popular local bar and restaurant has had to buy ice and soda because it can’t use its tap water.

“We’ve been buying bagged ice,” daytime bartender Erica Russo said. “We were doing cans of soda. We just switched to two-liter bottles to make it a little easier for us. We have to boil everything. If I’m washing dishes at the bar, I have to request them to boil water for me.”

Russo said she thought the advisory had dampened the inn’s business.

“I think our business has been affected by it,” she said. “It’s been significantly slower than normal.”

The health department did not respond to an inquiry about when the advisory might be lifted.


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