The Essex Jct. Water Department has issued a “precautionary” boil water advisory after a major water line break on Densmore Drive around 3 a.m.

Public works staff has been on scene since then working to fix the problem, which closed the town offices and sent students home early from Essex High School and the Center for Technology.

The water department now says there’s a “strong possibility” that water supplies for customers who experienced low or no water pressure have been contaminated. Boiled or bottled water should be used until further notice.

The department says the notice will remain in effect until the water break is completely remedied and the system can demonstrate that the quality and quantity of drinking water meets state and federal standards.

UPDATE: As of 9:30 p.m. Friday night, the boil water advisory has been lifted. Full statement from the village is below. 

As of 9:31 PM on Friday, February 2 the Village of Essex Junction has lifted the precautionary boil water notice. Village water is now safe to drink without boiling. Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this unfortunate incident.

According to Champlain Water District General Manager Jim Fay, the pressure drop was confined to the northwestern side of Essex Junction (Town Office building to upper Main Street area). Fay said the water-boil notice was strictly “a precautionary boil since there were no positive bacteria samples ever received prior to the water break. The follow-up samples after the break confirm that the water is safe once the system was returned to normal operation.” Fay said, “normally a boil order is issued due to receiving coliform positive results when taking routine samples for regulatory reasons. This was not the case as this precautionary boil was in response to a water break to ensure public health protection.”