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Main Street water main work prompts some restaurants to close Monday

Ongoing water main work is continuing to affect Main Street businesses, with some restaurants choosing to close Monday instead of dealing with a requirement to boil their water.

In conjunction with the Main Street reconstruction project, the city is installing new fire hydrants as well as larger pipes that will improve the water flow from the hydrants.

The water mains under Main Street date back as far as 1888, and mineral build-up and corrosion has reduced the capacity of the pipes leading to the fire hydrants, city officials said. Replacing them with wider pipes will increase the flow rate, and new valves will reduce the impact of service disruptions during future repairs.

The $330,000 project is split into eight phases. In each area, the residences and businesses there will have their water shut off for one night between midnight and 7 a.m.

However, after their water service is restored, the customers will be under a boil-water advisory for 24-72 hours. During that time, people cannot drink the water or use it for cooking unless they boil it first.

The advisory is a precautionary measure because shutting off water service can risk contamination with E. coli or other bacteria.

“It’s ultimately a measure the state requires to ensure safe drinking water. It allows us time to sample the water,” Deputy Public Works Director Ethan Robinson explained earlier this year.

This week’s work was between Chapel Street and Academy Street. Businesses and residents there did not have water service overnight Sunday into Monday. After the water was turned back on, a boil-water advisory was in effect at least through Tuesday morning.

Several restaurants hung signs over the weekend informing customers of pending closures.

Finn McCool’s Irish Gastropub, Jimmy John’s, Yogurt City, Arena’s Deli and Bar, Chipotle, Klondike Kate’s, Playa Bowls and El Diablo were all closed Monday. Starbucks shut down Monday and part of Tuesday and planned to reopen sometime Tuesday afternoon after receiving notice from the city that the water is safe.

Panera Bread stayed open but was not able to serve coffee or use the soda fountain. Only bottled drinks and barista beverages that don’t require water were available. The restaurant served all meals in to-go containers to avoid having to wash dishes.

“We apologize for any inconvenience; however, we are taking every precaution necessary to remain open to our community while others have chosen to close their doors,” Panera management wrote in a notice to customers.

Water main work at the east end of Main Street is already complete. Additional work is scheduled for the next two Mondays, but officials have not publicly disclosed which areas of Main Street will be affected.

Robinson said the city will contact property owners to inform them of the exact date they will be affected.

He suggested residents and businesses store water prior to the shutoff but acknowledged the boil-water advisory will negatively affect some businesses.

“I’m sure some restaurants will say, ‘This is too much of a pain in the butt for us.’ They may close for that day,” he said.

For more info about boil-water advisories, read the city’s FAQ here.

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