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Rutland counts down days of drinking water supply - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rutland counts down days of drinking water supply

Mayor Chris Louras Mayor Chris Louras

September 5, 2011 - Rutland, Vermont

There is no shortage of rain in Vermont, but Rutland city is counting down the days of its drinking water supply.

"The bathtub ring that goes around the reservoir-- that is 30 days. What you are looking at now is probably 21 days."

Rutland Mayor Chris Louras is urging residents to conserve water while the city works to refill the reservoir, and they say they are taking it seriously.

Robin Bohn of Rutland said, "Yes, we are cutting back on laundry and only running the dishwasher when we have to."

Louras explained, "It is going to be some time before our primary system from Mendon Brook is back on and operating."

Mendon Brook is the main water supply for the city but rising storm water washed out hundreds of yards of piping that originally fed the reservoir and now the city has to completely rebuild.

Water treatment facility manager Mike Garofano saw the storm coming and cut off the supply to prevent wastewater from getting into the city's system.

"The day of the event he was still checking and seeing how the system was holding up. That frankly cost him his life," the mayor said.

Garofano and his son were washed away in the storm.

Rutland residents pull 2.5 million gallons of water a day from the water treatment facility, but there was no water refilling the reservoir for five days following the storm. The city had to turn to the backup system that has never been used before.

Louras explined, "This pump draws up to 3,300 gallons per minute from East Creek to this pump and then up to the reservoir, and it needs 400 gallons of diesel a day to run."

For now the pump is keeping up with usage, but not completely refilling the reservoir.

"We are running at about 60 percent capacity," said Louras. "You do not want to go full tilt boogie on this thing. If it blows we have got no water."

A scenario that would put the city's safety and health at risk. Cutting off water to residents, firefighters and local hospitals.

Louras explained, "If we have 17,000 people in 8 square miles who cannot flush a toilet, we have got a problem."

He says the city gets down to a 15-day supply they will shut down city car washes, and start issuing $500 fines to people who are caught watering their lawns or washing down their driveways.

Molly Smith - WCAX News

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