Eight water main breaks leave Centerville high and dry

Eight water main breaks caused trouble in Centerville Tuesday.

Extreme cold has left thousands of Hoosiers without water.

The town of Centerville, in Wayne County, experienced not one, not two, but eight different water main breaks on Tuesday, which caused the entire area to be without water.

Town Clerk/Treasurer Janice Roberts says you really don't know how much you need something until it's gone. Every few hours Tuesday, she spent shoveling and bucketing snow to bring inside to be used in the bathroom.

It was an attempt to restore a most basic necessity.

By mid-morning, water was gone for thousands in Centerville. The town, which is celebrating its 200th birthday this year, suddenly took an unwanted trip back in time.

"I'm glad I was born when I was born," Roberts said. "I really wouldn't like this for an extended period of time. Today the water pressure went down. A few people had trickles and then they had nothing."

Centerville experienced eight water main breaks in three hours. They were blamed on sub-zero temperatures.

"It's not unusual maybe to have one or two in a day, but eight of them just...I thought they were kidding me when they called me," said town board president Daniel Wandersee. "Just one right after the other."

The breaks drained both towers, all 500,000 gallons, leaving every home and business high and dry.

"You can't take a shower 'cause the water pressures too low. Can't flush a toilet," Wandersee said.

"You can't cook. You turn your faucet on and it's not there," Roberts added.

Tuesday night, firefighters and police officers, at a station that relies on a different water company, filled buckets and handed out bottled water to people in need.

Fire departments from other cities were on standby, to truck in water for emergencies. Meanwhile, all over town, repair crews worked on a fix all night long.

Since many couldn't cook for themselves, Americana Pizza was busy.

"Even though the water main is broke, we're still here," said Becca McKee. "We're doing pretty good, actually!"

The pizza shop made some modifications without running water - boiling bottled water in a coffee pot to wash hands and taking spaghetti off the menu.

For the most part, folks in Centerville took in stride this winter weather crisis that hit their whole community.

"We'll get through it, for sure," Wandersee said.

As of 10:30 p.m., Wayne County Emergency Management said some of the water mains had been repaired, while others were still being fixed.

Even when all of them are working properly, there is a boil water advisory in effect. People in Centerville will need to boil their water, to make sure it's safe, for the next few days.

Boil water information