AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – As testing continues to ensure the water is safe to drink after a massive water main break, bottled water is in high demand.
Customers at Tops Friendly Market on Maple Road Friday were buying bottled water by the case and jug, since many can’t use their tap water for drinking or cooking now. “Trying to make coffee, brushing your teeth is a real trick. You know I haven’t done this since I went to camp,” said one customer, Noreen Resman.
Resman says she wasn’t stocking up on water Friday, she was restocking, after only being able to get three bottles at a different store chain on Thursday.
That’s not a problem at Tops. All of the stores have a lot of water on hand, the local vendor has more trucks ready to deliver, and there is no limit on how much water customers can get. “As we learned about the water main break, we got our resources together, worked with our local vendor, Mayer Brothers, and all of our stores that are affected by the water main break are fully stocked with product,” said Andy Brocato, Director of public and community relations for Tops Friendly Markets.
In a happy coincidence, some of the water is even on sale at Tops this week. “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” Brocato laughed.
But Tops isn’t leaving anything to luck with the boil water advisory situation. Coffee service has been discontinued in most stores, customers are being offered hand sanitizer in the restrooms and bottled water in place of the drinking fountain water, and all of the stores in the affected area have turned off the automatic misters in their produce departments.
Employees are manually misting the produce using bottled water. “Food safety is our number one priority,” Brocato said.
That’s certainly the case at local restaurants, too.
The owner of Duffs says his restaurant got a huge special delivery of bagged ice on Thursday since their on site ice and fountain drinks are off limits. “We’ve made runs to Walmart and BJs and get a lot of bottled waters and a lot of cans of soda,” Jeff Feathers said.
Of course, Feathers said, customers can always get a refreshing beer while they’re enjoying a meal there, since the kegs are not affected.
Meal prep hasn’t been a problem either. “Luckily, we had everything prepped, mostly our celery and everything was done before the water main break so we’re good throughout the weekend until we can get fresh water again,” Feathers said.
Everyone is hoping to get the water again soon. The Department of Health still needs to give the all clear.
Meantime, crews at the site of the water main break that prompted the boil water advisory are making progress in their repairs.
By 10 a.m. Friday, they had the pipe in the ground. The crews were still working to install a new valve, and told News 4 they’d likely still be out at the site for several more hours.