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Salem still dry, as city works to repair system

SALEM -- Both residents and city officials in Salem are hoping a problem with the city's water treatment plant is resolved and normal water service is restored before the end of the day.

SALEM -- Both residents and city officials in Salem are hoping a problem with the city's water treatment plant is resolved and normal water service is restored before the end of the day.

Residents in the city were told Wednesday not to use tap water after a computer component failed and caused the city's water treatment plant to shut down.

A replacement part is expected to arrive in Sioux Falls at 10 a.m. today and will hopefully be in Salem shortly after that, said City Finance Officer Lori Heumiller. Once the part is installed, some programming needs to be done and the water tower must be refilled before all returns to normal, she added.

"We're hoping by mid-day we're producing water again," Heumiller said.

Heumiller and Bill Selland, the city's water and sewer superintendent, were both at Salem City Hall this morning.

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No more work could be completed at the plant until the new part arrives, Selland said.

Although the water shortage has passed the 24-hour mark, locals seem to be coping.

"We're getting by, but I hope they get it going today," said Joan Stiefvater, as she left St. Mary's Catholic Church this morning. Stiefvater said she was most concerned for local families.

"They probably need the water the most," she said.

Not far away, Tabitha Hidalgo was opening the Four Quarters Store & More. With two young babies, Hidalgo said the time without water has been "very interesting."

"Hopefully they will get it fixed today and we can go back to cleaning house," she said.

Hidalgo was in Sioux Falls with her family for most of Wednesday, but said she would be working at the store, which is family-owned, all day today.

"We'll probably have frozen food for dinner, seeing as I can't do dishes," she said. "At least the pool is open for all the kids to stay cool."

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The city's public pool reopened Wednesday after it was closed Sunday when its water pump broke. The issue is not related to the current water shortage, city officials say.

Kerwin Gortmaker, walking near Main Street near his workplace, McCormick Motors, said the water shortage has been just an inconvenience and life has been "pretty much normal."

"If this is the worst we have to go through, we're doing all right," he said.

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