Columbia Water issues ‘do not consume’ alert

The Columbia Water Company has issued a “Do Not Consume” notice to customers due to a break-in at one of its storage tank locations. About 8,600 customers in Mountville Borough, West Hempfield Township and Manor Township are affected.

The company said it was not immediately known whether the water in the storage tank was tampered with during the break-in, which occurred sometime during the overnight hours between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

The Department of Environmental Protection is testing the affected tank and distribution system.

While the advisory is in effect, the company said it will provide tankers of water, which will be stationed at the Columbia Shopping Plaza and the Columbia Shopping Center. As of 5:50 p.m., the tankers were not yet in place.

Residents will need to bring their own containers to carry water. 

Tap water should not be used for drinking, cooking, food preparation, oral hygiene, or for pets until further notice, officials said. If ice cubes were made with tap water before 3:30 p.m. on March 13 they should be thrown away.

The water can be used for sanitary purposes such as bathing and washing.

This notice affects all customers of Columbia Water Company except those in the Marietta Division. The company expects to resolve the problem in three to five days.

The water company said it would send notice to customers once the water can be consumed.

The Weis Market in Columbia said their deli, bakery, seafood and meat departments will be closed on Thursday because of the advisory. There will also be some impact on the produce department.

Weis will bring in its own tanker and expect to be fully operational by Friday morning.

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