JEFFERSON CITY, MO, Oct. 23, 2012 -- A broken water main in Missouri's capital city on Tuesday prompted schools to let out early, requests for state workers to use bathrooms on the lower floors of their offices and plans to truck in water for two hospitals and the county jail.
Missouri American Water reported a 6-inch main broke Tuesday morning, cutting off water and leaving others with low water pressure. The company has roughly 10,000 customers in Jefferson City and hoped to have the line repaired before nightfall. Other Jefferson City residents receive water from public drinking water districts, and two water supply districts that feed into the city's system were providing some water.
Officials were advising Jefferson City customers to boil water for five minutes before using it for cooking or drinking. Boil advisories generally last 24 to 36 hours after water pressure is restored. Missouri American Water said people can use tap water for washing or bathing.
Bill Farr, the emergency management director for Jefferson City and Cole County, said tractor trailer tankers with water would be brought in to bolster water supplies for St. Mary's Hospital, Capital Region Medical Center and the Cole County jail. The Cole County Sheriff's Department said it brought in water for inmates and jail staff and was following its plan for handling such shortfalls.
"We're asking people to really conserve on any water usage whatsoever, just very basic until they can repair the system," Farr said.
State court officials reported that the Cole County courthouse in downtown Jefferson City closed Tuesday because of the water main break. A spokesman for Jefferson City Public Schools said about one-third of its buildings had no water, and students were dismissed 3.5 hours after classes started Tuesday. Several private schools in Jefferson City also closed early.
State government's Division of Facilities Management, Design and Construction asked people in state facilities to use bathrooms on the lower levels of buildings.