STURGEON POINT, NY-The Erie County Water Authority announced Monday it is lifting voluntary water restrictions covering numerous communities throughout the Southtowns three days earlier than expected.

The restrictions were originally set to be lifted last Thursday, but were extended through August 17th when it was revealed the repairs to a major water main break were more extensive than first thought.

Because of the complexity of the fix, outside experts from Ohio were brought in to make a temporary repair. A specialist from Hydra Tech Inc., out of Cincinnati, along with two ECWA staff entered the 42-inch pipe from inside the Sturgeon Point plant, crawling some 40 feet to the area of the break. The leak, a hole about the size of a baseball, was repaired while the three lay on their backs in six inches of water with groundwater flowing back into the pipe onto them through the hole.

The Authority says the fix is temporary, but will hold much longer than it will take than a permanent fix made from outside the pipe. They called it the most difficult repair in their 68-year history.

Municipalities affected by the break included in the restrictions are the Town and Village of Hamburg; the Town and Village of Orchard Park; the Town of Aurora; the Village of East Aurora; the Towns of Colden, Boston, Eden, Evans, Brant and Hanover; the Villages of Angola, Farnham, Silver Creek, and the Seneca Indian reservation.