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Water main break prompts boil water advisory, frustration for thousands in Southside Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A water main break on Philips Highway near Greenland Road prompted thousands of people to be placed on a boil water advisory.

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JEA worked quickly and safely to repair it, for most of the day, Tuesday. After nearly 12 hours, crews fixed the water main.

At around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday, JEA told Action News saying the pipe has been repaired and valves are reopened. And all areas impacted have now had the water pressure restored to normal.

Some people near the water main break said they had low water pressure or no water for most of the day.

Jessie Pawlish, a resident of the Copperleaf neighborhood, was frustrated about this.

“I feel like I’m camping and I didn’t plan on that,” Pawlish expressed.

Around 10 a.m., Pawlish and her southside neighbors discovered they had no water in their homes. After eight hours, it finally kicked in.

“[I’m] trying to figure out, okay well how long do I need to prepare for simple things that you take for granted,” Pawlish said. “You know like just flushing the toilet, that takes like two gallons just to flush.”

JEA said the damage was caused during the installation of a new electric utility pole in the area. In a video message, JEA CEO Jay Stowe urged the affected neighbors to limit their water usage.

“The size of the water line and its location on our water system means that water pressure is low for customers on the Southside and parts of St. Johns County,” Stowe said. “So we are asking all JEA customers to conserve water.”

More than 25,000 customers in the Nocatee communities and the Southside area are now advised to boil their water as a precautionary measure. Stowe emphasized JEA’s commitment to providing safe and clean water, noting that they take this responsibility seriously.

The ruptured water line compelled many residents to flock to stores to buy bottled water.

Tony Kuczewski stocked up for his family.

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When we asked him if the boil water notice is concerning, he said, “Not to me, but it is to my wife and I do what she says.”

The Publix in Nocatee Town Center already had several empty shelves by dinner time as residents rushed to secure clean water.

“For hurricane season, we always say you have to buy and stock up on water, but in Florida, we hardly ever do that,” Pawlish said. “But for a no-water advisory, we actually have to buy a hurricane amount of water to be prepared.”

In addition to the schools on the map, Bartram Springs Elementary, Atlantic Coast High School, and Pine Island Academy, were also affected by the water main break.

The St. Johns County District announced that students would have access to bottled water during this time.

Baptist Health was also affected by the advisory, stating that it posed a “low-risk concern” for them but they would proceed with caution, distributing bottled water as needed.

Once the Advisory is lifted, JEA said it will notify impacted customers directly through texts, phone calls, and email.

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