Community without water after 200,000 gallons disappear
By Sarah Blakely
Mon, 28 Jan 2013 15:38:16 GMT — It's an old saying that you don't know what you have until it's gone. The village of Rockland in Ontonagon county is starting to understand firsthand what that saying is all about. Rockland has been without water for three days after a water main broke sometime early Saturday morning. About 200,000 gallons of water drained from the township's water tank in just four hours, leaving almost 150 households out to dry. "The crew's been working hard for two-and-a-half days trying to find it and just can't seem to locate," said Rockland Township firefighter, Robert O'Connell. "It's not surfacing any place and just can't seem to locate where it is." Although water from wells is being pumped through pipes, the issue is finding the source of the leak that has left Rockland without water since Saturday. Crews are working on isolating different portions of the township's pipes to find the break but so far have not found one. "If they locate the source, they'll have to isolate that source, dig it up, see where the break is and what the break is, and go from there," O'Connell said. It's hard to say how long that process will take once the leak is located. A deep-rooted problem and a lack of equipment could mean outsourcing, which would mean more time without water. Emergency management has stepped in to provide bottled water for Rockland, but even that process has had its challenges. "There's red tape to go through, there's people that you have to find to pay for it, of course," said Ontonagon county emergency manager, Bill Johnson. "Then you have to find the distributor to bring it down, unload it, and you need volunteers to help unload it and everything." Bottled water is located at St. Paul's Methodist Church on M-45. The fire hall has water from the National Guard strictly for things like washing dishes and flushing, but not for consumption. "It's not a simple solution," O'Connell said. "It's going to take time with this major leak we have." For more information on getting water from St Paul's Methodist Church, contact Pastor Bruce Steinberg at (906) 884-2789 or Robert O'Connell at (906) 886-2971.
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