The Kennebec Water District withdrew a boil-water order Friday morning for Elm Plaza, marking a return to normal service after a cracked water main had disrupted the plaza’s 15 retailers during the previous two days.

The cracked pipe section, which initially flooded the parking lot early Wednesday morning, was replaced that afternoon and water service was restored. The water district issued the boil-water order pending test results of water samples, a standard precaution against bacterial contamination through the broken pipe that could be a health concern.

The tests showed no harmful bacteria, Jeff Lacasse, the water district manager, said Friday.

“Everyone’s back in business and everything came out OK,” he said.

Before the water samples were taken, Lacasse said, the system was flushed with water drawn from the water district’s main lines, which contains disinfectants that generally would kill any bacteria that might have been introduced during the repair of the pipe.

“It doesn’t always work, but most of the time it does the trick,” he said.

When the pipe broke, retailers in the plaza took actions to deal with the lack of water and, on Thursday, the boil-water order.

Champions Fitness Club and the Hannaford supermarket both brought in portable toilets, while Verizon Wireless and Subway closed on Wednesday. Subway reopened Thursday, but offered only bottled beverages.

The plaza’s Garden Island Dry Cleaners and Laundromat has been closed for the past few days, but not because of the water problems, Lacasse said. The store remained closed Friday, and calls to the business were not answered.

On Wednesday afternoon, when the boil-water order was still in effect, Mike Ortins, owner and operator of the McDonald’s franchise at Elm Plaza, released a statement saying water for brewed coffee, ice, and sweet tea was being provided by the chain’s nearby Kennedy Memorial Drive location. The restaurant also temporarily sold canned soft drinks.

The McDonald’s is not a part of the plaza, but it used to be, and is served by the same private water line as the businesses in the plaza.

“I’d like to thank our customers for their continued support and understanding during this time,” Ortins said.

Lacasse said the water district’s involvement with the incident is complete.

“We continue to take regular sampling throughout our system to make sure everything is up to snuff,” he said.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287 [email protected] Twitter: @hh_matt

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.