Thursday, July 04, 2002

Hebron faces water shortage

Boone Co. urges people to conserve

By Stephenie Steitzer,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HEBRON — Marc Rulli was forced to close his Gold Star Chili restaurant 90 minutes early twice this week because he had no running water.

        A heat wave, on top of rapid development in recent years, has put Boone County's 12-million-gallon-a-day distribution system under strain.

        “Water pressure is low and it gets to the point when there is no water flowing to the restaurant,” Mr. Rulli said.

        Boone County Judge-executive Gary Moore implemented a Level One conservation plan for the county on Tuesday, which meant residents and businesses were being asked to cut outdoor watering by 50 percent.

        While restaurants and hotels near the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport are facing a water shortage, the airport itself isn't.

        Northern Kentucky Water District president and CEO Ron Lovan said the airport in Hebron and Kenton and Campbell county residents buy water directly from the water district.

        Boone County, however, buys its water wholesale from the district and pipes it to subscribers. Hebron is the last community in the county to get water.

        Boone County administrator Jim Parsons said Hebron is having the most problems with water because it is farthest from the source.

        The Hebron Fire Department also faces the possibility of problems extinguishing a fire if the water pressure drops too low.

        “We're dealing with a limited flow,” Capt. Dan Hitzfield said.

        He said firefighters can use tanker trucks to haul water if necessary.

        Mr. Parsons said he is not worried about the water problem.

        “Right now, I don't think it's a serious issue,” he said.

        But he said that if the heat continues, the county might have to make some of the voluntary requests mandatory.

        After this summer, water shortages may no longer be a problem in the county.

        Starting in March, a pipe being installed under the Ohio River will transport water from Cincinnati to Boone County.

        If the county had continued buying its water from the district, the district would have had to build a new water-treatment plant in Boone County and residents' water rates would have increased by 70 percent.

        With the new pipeline, rates will go up by about 35 percent.

        In hopes of alleviating Boone County's supply problem, the water district this week installed a 42-inch line to increase the amount of water delivered to its wholesale customers.

        The new line has not solved the problem for Mr. Rulli, who hopes residents will heed the voluntary alert and cut back on water use.


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