By Margie Wuebker
Rockford residents have no running water today as a result of an electrical fire overnight at the village water treatment plant.
The problem led to the cancellation of classes at Parkway Local Schools as well as closing businesses, from factories to the local dentist office, according to Village Administrator Jeff Long.
Tom Beers, water treatment plant operator, detected something amiss around 5 a.m. He turned on a faucet at his home and nothing flowed into the sink.
Beers rushed to the plant and discovered flames coming from the main breaker unit. He quickly extinguished the fire and alerted Long.
"We know the main breaker unit is history at this point," Long said. "And we are unsure about one of the two pumps." The men quickly learned the company that supplied the breaker for the 1969 plant is no longer in business. They were able to locate a replacement at a Cleveland firm and made arrangements for delivery via carrier service.
One of the pumps was not in operation at the time of the fire, but there is concern the motor on the other might be damaged. The village has a spare on hand if that is indeed the case.
"The best case scenario is we should be up and running by 3 p.m.," Long said. "We will be ready to go as soon as the breaker arrives."
A boil water advisory will be in force once water service resumes. Residents should boil water for three minutes before using it for drinking or cooking purposes, Long said. He termed the boil advisory a precaution until village employees determine no coliform is present in the water supply.
The testing is a requirement imposed by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency when water pressure drops, as it did in this instance.
Long indicated contingency plans are in place in the event of fires. These include using backup wells at the north end of the village or the wastewater plant, which utilizes a lagoon system.
"It would have been better for this to happen Monday afternoon when the plant was staffed," Long said. "However, we are thankful it did not happen on Thursday when everyone was enjoying Thanksgiving Day."