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Columbia Utilities says water is safe after water main break causes discoloration


The City of Columbia Utilities is alerting customers about a water main break that could lead to water problems.

A spokesperson for Columbia Utilities told ABC 17 News the tap water is safe and discoloration is just from lime used to treat the water.

According to a release from the City, crews were replacing valves on West Worley Street and rerouted water during the repairs. This is when a 16-inch water main near the University of Missouri campus broke.

The City said residents near the area may have a low water pressure or water discoloration due to the break. A boil advisory was issued at 11:45 a.m. for more than 120 customers on West Worley Street.

ABC 17 News saw Water and Light crews on the scene working to repair the break around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. City crews remained on scene well after 8 p.m.

Columbia Utilities spokesperson Matt Nestor said the issues should clear up soon, although there is no certain timeline.

"People might see some issues with their water through the remainder of the day," Nestor said. "And so with the other repairs finishing up, that should alleviate most of the problems. But there still might be some discoloration on the water."

The water main break was in the parking lot of South Residence Hall at the University of Missouri. Residents there told ABC 17 News their basement laundry room flooded. An MU spokesperson said an elevator is also out of order because of the flooding.

Some dorm residents had to move their vehicles to make room for Columbia Water and Light crews to work on the main break.

"We left at like 12 to go to a store and this whole area was, like, completely flooded with water. And so then by the time we got back, it was a little bit better. But then we heard alarm noises inside the dorm.  And so then we found out that the basement was flooded," said Becca Harper, a South Hall resident.

South Hall resident Jacob Fuller said he noticed the flooding getting worse throughout the day. Fuller said he'll have to do laundry at a friend's dorm Tuesday night.

"They've been down in the basement working," Fuller said. "So hopefully they can get the water out and then it'll just be about seeing when we can get our laundry room back."

MU Spokesperson Christian Basi said the university had a plan in place immediately to accommodate the flooded laundry room, elevator and parking lot.

"We have been communicating those challenges with the students who live there. We've already got solutions worked out, especially for the laundry," Basi said. "They can basically move to the near next door hall. The elevator creates a mobility issue. So we're working with any students who have those  and making sure that they can actively and safely navigate the building."

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.

Madison Stuerman


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