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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Water buffaloes have been set up for residents in eight Pittsburgh neighborhoods under a Boil Water Advisory.

The quality of the water in 7,000 homes is in question after a large water main broke Sunday morning.

According to the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, the break caused a decrease in water pressure, which may have allowed contaminants to seep into the water system.

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller Reports:

As a result, water buffaloes have been set up for affected customers:

  1. Shursave IGA Super Market at 4401 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, Pa 15224
  2. CVS at 4610 Centre Avenue at North Craig Street, Pittsburgh, Pa 15213
  3. Fire Station 8 at 149 North Euclid Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pa 15206

Crews are continuing to fix the break, and get the advisory lifted as soon as it’s safe.

“They are presently, now, removing that section of pipe, and we’ll replace it in the next 24 hours,” said PWSA Interim Director Bob Weimar. “We’ll be working around the clock until the system is back and running.”

“Once we have two straight good readings, we will end the boil advisory. That could be as soon as [Tuesday] at 5 p.m,” Mayor Bill Peduto said.

Restaurants, schools and medical facilities are all making adjustments to deal with the advisory. Businesses across East Liberty and Shadyside were forced to close for the day.

“I became aware of the water problem last night when I heard on KDKA News to be honest with you,” Dr. Gerald Josephson, of Merit Dental, said.

Dr. Josephson’s dental office sits right in the middle of the affected area on Centre Avenue.

“We have to use water to go into our hand pieces, we have to use water to clear debris from the mouth,” Dr. Josephson said.

There’s not much Dr. Josephson can do without water, so he’s cancelling nearly 40 patients the week before Christmas.

On Sunday, water drenched a parking lot and even buckled the sidewalk. Officials say the break could be related to a pump failure at a reservoir, or also, possibly related to the age and condition of the water pipes.

“We’ve got probably more than 700 miles of our pipes that is in the vicinity of 100 years of age, and it’s time we made some significant strides to reinvest,” Weimar said.

Nearby stores placed signs along the curb and sent employees home.

“Unfortunately, the break happened at 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday where PWSA has the fewest people working particularly in customer service and the dispatch side, so there was a very long wait,” Councilman Dan Gilman said.

That’s why Gilman ended up fielding questions from a lot of his constituents.

The PWSA decided to put a Boil Water Advisory in place around 8 p.m. Sunday.

This was done out of an abundance of caution for eight affected neighborhoods:

  • Bloomfield
  • Central Lawrenceville
  • East Liberty
  • Friendship
  • Garfield
  • Highland Park
  • Morningside
  • Shadyside

“For many of my residents, this is a second Boil Water Advisory in the past year and for a city that historically hasn’t had them, it’s frustrating and it certainly impacts someone’s life. The good news is – and I reassure everyone is that there’s no test that suggests there’s any reason for concern and this really is an overabundance of caution by the DEP,” Gilman said.

The PWSA says crews will work 24 hours around the clock to repair the break in the line.