Webster businesses hope to power through water outage

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WEBSTER, S.D. The City of Webster shut off all water to residents at 3 p.m. on Tuesday while searching for a third water leak in the system. The water has to stay off for at least six hours to let the city's reservoir fill up.

According to Day County Emergency Management Director Bryan Anderson, they've already found two leaks in the system. The big issue officials are dealing with is frost, which they believe may have cause some of the leaks.

It's not known when the city plans on turning the water back on for good, but once the reservoir fills up, they'll be doing a grid test to figure out where more leaks are coming from.

Local businesses had to close or find unique ways to stay open without using any water.

The Sanford Webster Medical Center had a bit of luck with the water shortage.

"Losing water this time was not as big as it could've been because places right around the community did have water. From a potable standpoint, we were able to go hook into some spigots and be able to get some water, take the 5 gallon bucket and be able to flush some of the toilets," Sanford Webster CEO Isaac Gerdes said.

The hospital portion had to make some schedule changes.

"We did have the cancel the surgeries that we had today because of the prep that would've had to go into that and being able to clean some of the instruments," Gerdes said.

Sanford staff members had to make a trip to Watertown to buy some bottled water to keep their nursing home residents hydrated.

"One of the first things that we did was we made the switch to paper for plates. We made the switch to get away from as much 'cleanable' utensils as we could," Gerdes said.

Some local businesses on Webster's Main Street are feeling the pain in their pocketbooks as they switch things up to stay open.

"I don't know, I kinda feel like I'm floating. It hurts our business. It hurts the flow of our business and that's scary," La Bella Vita Owner Cynthia Premus said.

All of the haircuts performed on Monday and Tuesday were done with a spray bottle full of water. Once that bottle is empty, there's no more water left to use in the store.

The hair salon has been forced to reschedule most of their clients.

"You have to put them in slots that you might not have room for," Premus said. "We're gonna have to work in the evenings, so it's going to be long days. Probably going to start at eight in the morning until 8 or 9 o'clock at night."

But, La Bella Vita customers aren't worried about having to move around their appointments.

"That's the great thing about Webster, they're pretty understanding and I always have to remember that. They're very understanding and they will move their appointments to another time," Premus said.

It's been a stressful few days for the salon owner, but she hopes customers will still come in for a few of their specials. Premus is offering 10% off Shellac manicures as well as a buy one, get one half off massages. There's also a boutique portion and tanning salon in the building to use.

You can find more information on La Bella Vita to the link at the right of the article for more information.