Downtown Steubenville Without Water

Eric Young of Steubenville fills a plastic jug with water at the Urban Mission warehouse parking lot Friday. Photo by Mark Law

Steubenville Water Department crews were scrambling Friday to find a massive water leak that has led to water being shut off to the downtown area.

City Manager James Mavromatis said the entire city is under a water conservation order. Water may be off for days in the downtown area, Chuck Murphy, city utility director, said Friday morning.

The lack of water downtown resulted in government offices and schools being closed. The Franciscan University of Steubenville also was without water.

“We have a massive problem right now,” Murphy said.

There are two sites where downtown Steubenville residents can get drinking water. Residents can bring containers either to the Urban Mission warehouse parking lot on North Street or to the Steel Valley Regional Transit Authority at 555 Adams St.

Mavromatis said the problem has been compounded with numerous leaks throughout the city in the past couple of weeks, causing levels in water tanks to drop.

“We are losing water quicker than we can (fill tanks). Until we find this leak, we don’t know what we are dealing with. We are losing a massive amount of water,” he said.

Murphy said an existing leak worsened or another leak late Thursday or early Friday. Once the tanks in the city get filled, Murphy said crews will turn the water back on to the downtown area.

The leak isn’t coming to the surface, so it is probably draining into sewer lines, he noted, and crews plan to check sewer lines for increased flow. Crews also will be digging up water lines and installing valves. Once that is completed, Murphy said water will be turned off and on to try to isolate the leak.

The conservation order will remain in effect until the leak is found and fixed.