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Ennis water main breaks, residents left without running water

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Apr 03 2014 10:33:46 PM MDT
Updated On: Apr 03 2014 10:46:29 PM MDT
ENNIS, Mont. -

Ennis city officials say water will most likely be restored in the early morning hours on Friday.

Utility crews in Ennis, about an hour southwest of Bozeman, spent Thursday repairing the town's water main after it broke around 10 in the morning.

The repair was finished around 5 p.m. and since then, crews have been working to ensure the water is safe to drink before turning it back on.

The town of Ennis came to a halt on Thursday when residents learned there was no running water. Local businesses described the experience as stressful and frustrating because they couldn't provide the services they are used to.

"I've never experienced where the water has been off this long," said Gail White, who works at Yesterday's Restaurant and the Ennis Pharmacy. She explained they had to deal with a lot of stress after they were cut off from using water.

"People coming in saying, 'Where in town can we eat?' and there is nowhere they can go and eat in town," she said.

Three Rivers Communication was installing a fiber optic phone line when workers drilled through a water main. Workers had the line repaired around 5, but because the water could be contaminated, the city is testing the water to make sure the it is safe to drink.

White said they were forced to close their restaurant early because of it, explaining, "When you have to say, 'We can't serve you today' it makes you feel bad."

"It's frustrating, for sure, but things happen," said Tanya Fortner, who owns Trenz Salon and Day Spa on the other side of town.

She said she had to turn down at least seven clients, which set her back a good amount of money.

"We can't do pedicures, we can't wash the hair before we do cuts and styles," she said. "It's been a little bit of an inconvenience."

Fortner said the experience has taught her how dependent her business is on water and how important it is to be prepared.

"We can't really function without water," she said, "so it's scary."

Both White and Fortner said they managed to get by on Thursday, but they hope the water is restored soon so they and their businesses can get back to normal.

The Department of Environmental Quality said the water main break could have led to bacteria contaminating the drinking water. To make sure you stay safe, the DEQ says not to boil your water, because it may make the chemical contamination worse. They suggest drinking bottled water and limiting water use. The DEQ said this will help the water system return to normal.