The water is back and flowing to homes along East Overlook Drive, but there is still a lot of work to do to repair the nearly 2,000 feet of aging water main.
Channel 2 spoke with a number of residents Friday morning who say water service has been off and on since Tuesday.
"This is the first real cold spell we've had so far," worries Katie Anderson. "We have 3 more months of winter to go. So is this what's going to happen every time it gets cold out? That's a long time to deal with it."
Erie County Water Authority crews have been back at the site several times since the first break.
A spokesperson for the water authority tells Channel 2 when one section of the pipe was repaired another break would occur farther down the line, when water pressure resumed.
Water from the latest break on Friday morning streamed across front yards and the street, freezing in sheets of ice.
Brothers, Graham and Blake Walker, showed Channel 2's Emily Lampa the buckets of water they have been keeping on hand over the past several days, not knowing when the water service would resume.
They called 2 On Your Side looking for help, saying they have been trying to get the Erie County Water Authority to replace the deteriorated pipe line for some time now.
"After 17 years of having regular water main breaks that knock us out for, if not an evening, more than that," explains Blake Walker, "this is clearly the worst situation we've had."
The brothers say they called the water authority back in 2012, requesting that the pipes be replaced. They claim, at the time, they were told it would take 5 years to get all the necessary paperwork and clearance.
But Friday morning, when Channel 2 asked residents in this neighborhood what the water authority had to say, they say the ECWA told them the earliest the pipes could be replaced would be this coming spring.
"it just doesn't make any sense to me," Graham Walker.
Channel 2's Emily Lampa called and requested information from Sean Dwyer, an account executive with Zeppelin Communications, the company that represents the ECWA.
After leaving several follow up messages, there was a huge breakthrough. An engineer with the ECWA called the Walker brothers to say work to replace the pipe would begin Friday night.
Swyer sent Channel 2 the following press release shortly after:
Over the past few days, The Erie County Water Authority (ECWA) has been addressing a series of water main breaks that have occurred on East Overlook Drive, in the Town of Clarence. As a result, our ECWA line maintenance crews have worked around the clock to make the appropriate repairs as leaks occurred.
Recognizing the abundance of water main breaks that have been negatively impacting our customers in this area, ECWA made the decision to immediately engage a contractor to replace approximately 1,500 feet of unlined cast iron pipe, currently in failing condition. Contractors are expected to be on-site today to begin this replacement project. If all goes well, the new pipe is anticipated to be installed and fully operational within a week.
While the new pipe replacement project is ongoing, ECWA crews will continue to standby for local residents to address future leaks, may they occur.For questions, please contact ECWA Customer Service at 716-849-8444, or visit www.ecwa.org.
Dwyer says the new pipe will be laid next to the old pipe so water service can continue during construction.
But with Christmas next weekend, residents admit they aren't willing to gamble. "We were having family come in Saturday," Barbara Anderson tells Channel 2, "and we're trying to rearrange our plans."
According to Dwyer, the aging pipeline that runs along East Overlook Drive is about 2,000 ft long. While the ECWA plans to replace 1,500 feet, we're told the most problematic section starts at Overlook Drive and runs 1,000 feet east and then north along East Overlook Drive. That's the portion that will be replaced first.
The rest, Dwyer says, will also be replaced, but not until Spring 2018.