CENTERVILLE, Ind. - Water main breaks in this week's subzero weather have troubled several Indiana communities, including knocking out water service to an entire small town.
Crews in the eastern Indiana town of Centerville worked until 1 a.m. Wednesday to fix eight main breaks the day before that emptied about 500,000 gallons of water from its two water towers, town Clerk-Treasurer Janice Roberts said.
Some parts of the 2,500-person Wayne County community still had low water pressure midday Wednesday as the towers were being refilled, she said.
Broken pipes also plagued large cities such as Fort Wayne and other smaller ones like Rushville. A southeastern Indiana high school also sent students home Wednesday after one of its pipes burst.
The water pipe troubles came as most of the state saw temperatures fall well below zero since Monday, with the National Weather Service saying Tuesday's 16 below zero in Fort Wayne tied the city's record low from 1963.
"It's just such unusual weather that you can't prepare for something like that until it happens," Roberts told The Associated Press.
Centerville's residents were warned to boil tap water before using it for drinking or cooking and bottled water was being made available at the Municipal Building in the town about 50 miles east of Indianapolis.
A broken pipe in the central Indiana city of Rushville discovered early Wednesday drained much of a water tower and cut service to about a two-block radius, officials said.
"The cold weather has affected everything and has put a strain on systems as a whole," Rush County emergency management director Charles Kemker said. "We've had a couple other breaks in this area that we've had the same issues with."
Officials found the break after some digging and restored water to the area, but officials urged Rushville residents to boil their water until it could be tested for contaminants.
Tecumseh Junior-Senior High School in southwestern Indiana's Warrick County sent students home at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday after a pipe broke there.
The school sustained no major damage, but it lost water service, assistant superintendent Todd Armstrong told the Evansville Courier & Press. He said officials hoped to reopen the school Thursday.
Fort Wayne officials said that city has had at least 14 water main breaks since Monday evening and outside contractors were brought in to help make repairs.
"It is a public safety issue; not only are our customers relying on it, but the fire department needs to have water to fight fires," city utilities spokesman Frank Suarez told The Journal Gazette. "The fire department knows where the breaks are so they can take a tanker, but it's important to get that main operating as soon as possible."