Water woes over for Union City, Tenn.

A local community is thankful after three recent scares threatened its water supply.

Union City’s water department wanted to upgrade to a new 273,000 gallon water reservoir, but there were a few roadblocks. There were two boil water alerts: one on Sept. 17 after a main pipe ruptured and another two days later after a street collapsed onto another pipe.

The latest threat happened Friday when connecting to the new reservoir. Crews didn’t have the right size connector, leaving them low on water.

Things are back to normal in the kitchen at Penny Hill restaurant Tuesday. Owner Hope Dorch said this weekend was a little chaotic. “When McDonald’s and Hardee’s is closed, people freak out,” she said.

A lack of water meant Dorch has to serve water bottles, sell store-bough sweet tea, and boil water for hand washing. She says closing her doors was never an option. “I’m a small business. I’m not a big corporate that can just send everybody home,” she said.

The worst is over, according to water plant manager Bobby Reid. He says he was relieved when the last boil advisory was lifted Saturday night. He says in 36 years at the plant, this is the worst thing he’s seen there.

The only work left is cosmetic. City leaders say these unfortunate circumstances were not planned, but the new reservoir was needed. It was built in 1964, and leaders say it was one natural disaster away from crumbling.

City Manager Kathy Dillon says things could have been a lot worse. “This was truly a blessing and truly a learning experience for all of us," she said.

It was a learning experience for 7,232 water customers.

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