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Monday, September 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Residents of Harrison, Idaho, get OK to drink water after days without

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 28, 2019, 9:40 p.m.

Workers examine the apparent site of a water main break in Harrison, Idaho, in this August 2019 photo. The town’s public works department issued an order not to drink the water in the shoreline resort town of roughly 200 residents beginning Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. (Tom Neville / Courtesy)
Workers examine the apparent site of a water main break in Harrison, Idaho, in this August 2019 photo. The town’s public works department issued an order not to drink the water in the shoreline resort town of roughly 200 residents beginning Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. (Tom Neville / Courtesy)

Residents in the small lakeside resort town of Harrison, Idaho, were without drinking water from Friday to Wednesday evening, when the water was declared clear to drink.

Officials say the disruption occurred when a construction crew laying fiber optic line struck a water main.

The order not to drink the water forced the closure of some businesses in the town of roughly 200 people an hour south of Coeur d’Alene.

Wes Rice, supervisor of the town’s public works department, said Wednesday that officials were waiting for the results of an asbestos test before clearing the water to drink.

“We had to ship it to Seattle,” Rice said. “We got all the E. coli samples back, and they were negative. We’re just waiting on the last sample to come back.”

Those tests came back clear later Wednesday.

The construction crews, which Rice said were laying fiber optic line for a communications company, struck a 6-inch asbestos-concrete water main during drilling.

The rupture caused flooding at the Harrison Trading Post, a grocery store, bakery and deli on Coeur d’Alene Avenue, said owner Tim Neville. The order has forced the store to halt its food service options, including the deli and a new rolled ice cream offering for customers, while remaining open for food and beverage sales.

“Without a doubt, it’s disrupted our city,” Neville said.

Notices posted online and in town indicate the water main break occurred before noon Friday. Crews repaired the rupture later that day and flushed the system, but remained concerned about contaminants in the water service area, prompting the no-drinking order.

Bottled water is being distributed at Harrison City Hall, which earlier this month saw the resignation of its mayor over concerns about her family’s safety.

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