PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A water conservation order is now voluntary for Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County customers.

The notice affects 107,000 of the MAWC’s 120,000 customers.

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A mandatory conserve water notice was put into effect on May 14. The MAWC’s Indian Creek treatment plant had a failure of the electrical switch gear and a 4,000-volt power surge destroyed equipment used to pump water.

Customers within the Indian Creek and Beaver Run systems are being asked to conserve water.

Credit: Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County

Temporary repairs have since been made to the power supply.

“We want to thank the customers for conserving when they were asked, and their cooperation but we need to ask them to continue to conserve while the situation continues to improve,” said Michael F. Kukura, resident manager of the MAWC.

Under the voluntary notice, customers are being asked to use the minimum amount of water for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing clothes and dishes.

However, the MAWC is asking customers to refrain from watering lawns, washing cars or filling pools, among other things.

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The Indian Creek system in Connellsville serves the southern part of MAWC’s service area. It is being joined with the Beaver Run system so the plant can supplement water to the southern portion.

At this point, the timetable for the permanent repairs isn’t known.

A consulting engineer is on site today figuring out what’s needed. But, the high-voltage equipment that was destroyed has to be specially made.

Kukura said he’s thankful that people have listened to the restrictions and that a surge protection system prevented the situation from being worse.

“Because those fuses and breakers did what they were supposed to do, we were able to get those temporary repairs and get back up and running relatively quickly,” Kukura said.

The water is safe, but is limited while crews repair the Indiana Creek system.

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