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Required water cutback in effect

No lawn-sprinkling, car- or sidewalk-washing, pool-filling, pressure-cleaning or other luxury outdoor water usage for thousands of water customers at least through Monday.

Two Rock Hill Water Treatment Plant pumps broke down this week, and it will take at least until Monday to fix them with temporary pumps, Nick Stegall, city public services director, said Thursday. City officials will assess the situation then and announce whether the restrictions can be lifted.

"With the cooperation of its customers, the city should be able to meet any fire protection needs and provide water for essential domestic purposes such as drinking, health and sanitation," City Manager Carey Smith said in a press release.

In addition to 55,000 customers in greater Rock Hill, the water plant serves the town of Fort Mill and a number of communities in northern and western York County.

At the end of July, the plant was pumping an average of 20 million gallons of treated water each day, more than expected and more than during the same period last year.

"We have seen some record usage this year," Stegall said. "On some dry days, usage has been up to 25 million gallons."

Two areas the plant serves that have had particular growth are along S.C. 274 in the county and in Fort Mill Township, particularly along Interstate 77.

There are six pumps that push the treated water out of the plant into the distribution system, Stegall said. They stand about 15 feet tall, and the largest one went out about a week ago. A temporary pump was ordered and repairs were being done when the second-largest pump blew Thursday.

"We lost about one-third of our capacity," he said, "but we can still produce about 18 million gallons a day even without those two. Those two pumps add pressure to our water system."

Complicating things, the area is in a Level 1 drought, the lowest level. Droughts can go up to Level 4.

"It's not a critical drought, but we have a fairly large demand on our water treatment plant," Stegall said. "If people stop irrigating all together and stop any nonessential activities, we have enough to meet necessary needs."

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