A sewer emergency remained in effect Friday in Provincetown, Massachusetts, as repairs continued on the popular Cape Cod resort town's public vacuum sewer system, which failed earlier in the week due to storm damage.
"We continue to make progress and we are moving in the right direction," Town Manager Alex Morse said Friday in a Facebook post. "Crews are swiftly advancing through the West End right now and we are hopeful that we are getting closer to full restoration, but we can't say for sure until every part of the system has been addressed."
"We currently have all the parts we need," he said.
City officials hope the repairs are finished ahead of Provincetown’s largest summer festival, the 43rd annual Carnival Week, held from Saturday to Saturday, Aug. 13 through Aug. 20.
"Hopefully it will be resolved,” Morse said. “We’re getting it fixed as soon as possible. It’s not easy but it’s necessary."
What happened in Provincetown on Thursday?
On Thursday morning, residents and business owners were alerted to a problem with the Provincetown sewer system.
Restaurants were told by city officials to close, and hundreds of residents on the system were told they "must reduce water use, including dishwashing, laundry, showering, and only flush when absolutely necessary," according to the alert, which was also posted on Facebook.
"Nightmare" is the word that came to mind for Guillermo Yingling, co-owner of Spiritus Pizza in Provincetown.
"Having to close on what could have potentially been the busiest day of the year, there's no way to recoup that income," Yingling said.
Late Thursday evening, the town of Provincetown reported progress on repairs to the sewer vacuum system. Repair teams planned to work overnight.
Where is the Provincetown sewer broken?
The order affects 356 properties on the vacuum sewer system, which is a subset of the about 1,500 connected to the town's sewer system. Another 1,500 properties in Provincetown are not on the public sewer system, and instead use a site-specific system.
On Thursday evening, nearly every eatery along Commercial Street in the downtown area was closed except for Spiritus Pizza, which is on its own independent septic system, according to the owner. The town ordered 18 portable restrooms, which were lined up in area parking spaces.
Provincetown's affected area
What we know about the cause of the failure
The trouble started Tuesday after a power surge from a storm damaged some breakers, according to Jim Vincent, the town public works director. Hours later the vacuum system wasn’t operating, and there wasn’t pressure in the system. The system was effectively waterlogged, he said.
Valve boxes were being repaired, but it was expected to take days to get all the equipment needed, according to comments at the town's Select Board and Board of Health meeting Thursday.
Pumper trucks were going around town to empty sites, disinfecting them, and bringing that waste to the treatment plant.
Some Provincetown restaurants and businesses are open
The Provincetown sewer emergency has resulted in a number of temporary closings for restaurants and bars in the area, but there are still plenty open that people can enjoy. In addition, according to a post on the Provincetown Business Guild Facebook page Friday morning, "the situation is expected to be resolved within the next day so that Town is ready for the start of Carnival week on Sunday."
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Shutting down in August: Restaurant owners in Provincetown react to sewer failure at height of summer season
Contributing: The Cape Cod Times, Mike Snider
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY NETWORK: Provincetown sewer failure: Businesses closed, water use curbed