Rich Hill residents trying to stay positive after town goes days without consistent water

RICH HILL, Mo. – A boil advisory remains in effect for Rich Hill, Missouri, following days of water problems.

The city believes subfreezing temperatures from last week combined with their aging water supply infrastructure are to blame for the issues.

The problems date back to Jan. 4, when a line that carries water into town failed. Two days later, a “90-degree elbow pipe broke” at the intersection of 11th and Park.

The water supply issues meant resident and business were without consistent water for four days.

“We couldn’t serve anything water related,” said Kameron Byram, whose family owns and operates Swope’s Drive-In. “We can’t serve any Coke products because the machine runs off water. The bathrooms, we don’t have. We can’t use any of that stuff.”

Employees at Swope’s have been hauling in ice and canned sodas to meet demand. They also had to transfer water from buckets, to boil, to wash dishes.

“It’s just harder, but we have faith in our city crew, and they’ve been working hard all night to try to get things back up for us,” Byram said.

As of Monday evening, the water had been restored but the pressure was not at full power.

The city said it will continue to pass out bottled water until it’s gone; they gave out more than 400 cases as of Monday. The neighboring town of Butler also brought in a 2,000-gallon tanker for nonpotable water.

Despite the inconvenience, residents and businesses Fox 4 talked with were in good spirits.

“Anytime you lose something you’re used to, you do get a little inconvenienced, but it’s not a big deal," resident Clayson Lyons said. "We’ve come to realize you have to rough it sometime."

“There are some people who are down on it, but you’re always going to have the good with the bad,” Byram said. “They’ll get over it eventually.”

The Rich Hill School District canceled classes Friday and Monday because of the water issue; the district announced Monday evening that classes will resume Tuesday.

They city said it “greatly appreciates how patient and understanding residents have been throughout this difficult situation.”