(Photo by John Manchester)
This “Congrats Grad!” balloon was the culprit behind all the water trouble for Lewisburg Municipal Water customers just before the Labor Day weekend.

The cause of all the commotion? A balloon that managed to blockade itself in one of the large pipes at the water treatment plant. The blockage restricted the water pumping capacity to 75 percent, dropping from two million gallons daily to one and a half million gallons.

Figuring out that a blockage was the problem took a lot of work, all systems and controls at the water plant were checked, Fire Chief Joseph Thomas suited up and dove into the sediment basin in order to feed a camera through the intake pipes, and the fire department brought over a tanker to blast 2,000 gallons of water at a high pressure back through the line in the opposite direction to dislodge the obstruction. After removing the offending balloon, water tank levels started to improve and function at full capacity.

Before discovering the blockage, the situation escalated to a mandatory water conservation for all customers, and water tankers were placed north of town and at the hospital to help provide sufficient water for the area. A boil water advisory was then implemented for all water customers as a…

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