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Poway Businesses Hurting In Midst Of Water Crisis

Ron Pole stands inside his empty restaurant Papa Duke's Deli and Grill in Pow...

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: Ron Pole stands inside his empty restaurant Papa Duke's Deli and Grill in Poway, Dec. 5, 2019.

It has been six days since a boil water advisory in Poway forced restaurants and markets to close after runoff from recent storms contaminated the city's water supply.

With each passing day, the going gets tougher for restaurateurs like Ron Pole, who owns Papa Duke's Deli and Grill.

"It’s agonizing because not only do you lose money, you throw away product because of spoilage," Pole said. "(And) there are still bills due."

All week, Pole has been turning away customers in person and on the phone. "I get calls constantly — all day long," he said.

RELATED: Poway To Be Cited For Faulty Reservoir System That Contributed To Water Contamination

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The entire city has been under a boil water advisory since Saturday after residents reported brown water coming out of their taps. It was later determined that stormwater flowed into the city's drinking water through an out-of-compliance reservoir system.

As a result, nearly 200 restaurants and markets had to shut their doors.

"They have to have some kind of common sense and get everybody back going," Pole said. "I mean a whole town can’t be without water."

Pole estimates that he's lost at least $8,000, and his employees are going without a paycheck this week.

"I’m losing my revenue and the employees are losing pay," Pole said. "So they’re not out buying anything and they don’t have money and it is coming on Christmas."

Pole is hoping the boil water advisory will be lifted Friday, the earliest officials say it could happen. He said he is talking to other small business owners about ways to recover losses.

"Any other restaurant owners let's get together let's see if we can get any compensation for this because we didn’t cause this," he said.

Pole has one message for officials dealing with the water crisis.

"Don’t pass the buck and blame the other guy," he said. "Let's be honest, let's fix it and get help to everyone who can use it."

An official with the state Water Resources Control Board said the city will likely be cited and fined for the out-of-compliance system that caused the stormwater contamination. Poway officials say the problem has been fixed, at least for the short-term. A long-term fix will likely cost taxpayers millions.

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

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Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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