ECWA extends water restrictions until 8/17

Southtowns Water Restrictions Extended 1 Week

DERBY, N.Y. -- The Erie County Water Authority is once again extending water restrictions for several communities in the Southtowns following a water main break at their Sturgeon Point facility. 

Residents are being asked not to water their lawns or wash their cars. The restrictions remain in place until August 17.

The water authority said they ran into a problem while trying to make the repairs underground, which is why the water restrictions have been extended. 

"We thought we would have it repaired by now as long as we didn't run into any complications...we ran into complications," said Earl Jann, Erie County Water Authority Executive Director. 

Russ Stoll, Erie County Water Authority Executive Engineer, went further to explain the issue. 

"We found a large electrical conduit embedded in concrete about 12 or 15 feet wide and 2 or 3 feet thick, all of the wire had to be taken out and rerouted because it was important to the operation of the plant itself," he said. 

He also said they learned about the additional problems shortly after they found the leak.

"We're asking people to refrain from watering lawns, washing cars, using excess water in any way," Jann said.  "Golf courses, not to water the course. Farmers (should) reduce water usage by 15% if they could until this thing is over."

Erie County Water Authority officials say the repair bill is expected to be in the millions of dollars and customers will pay for it.

2 On Your Side pointed out that at the Erie County Fair, which started Wednesday, a lot of water was being used to wash down animals. 

Jann responded: "As far as the fair goes, there is not a problem." 

Municipalities 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. 

Customers in the affected areas may experience low water pressure, but the ECWA says there is no need to boil water or take any other precautions. 

(video taken by ECWA spokesperson Michael Caputo)

Sean Dwyer, who is a spokesperson with Zeppelin Communications Firm which handles public relations for the authority, told WGRZ on Sunday that this is a 42-inch pipe which has broken at the plant. There is another pipe which is not damaged, but they are concerned with peak usage at this time of year. That is why they have this conservation order in effect.

On Monday morning, 2 On Your Side spoke to Jann about what happened and the repairs to be undertaken.

Among other things, Jann said repairing the pipe is quite an undertaking, in part because it is located some 18-20 feet below ground. In addition, Jann said there are power lines buried above the pipe that have to be dealt with as well.

According to Jann, the break was unexpected because the concrete pipe is estimated to be only 40 years old, putting it below its expected 100 year lifespan.

You can watch his full interview here

Monday's interview with Jann was the first time the ECWA made anyone available to answer questions since the break occurred.

On Sunday, while they put out Tweets and contacted local news media, they did not do any on the record interviews, insisting that their press release stood for itself.

Last summer, there was quite a bit of controversy with another water main break in the Amherst area.  The water authority and Zeppelin Communications pledged to improve their notification process.  

 

 

© 2017 WGRZ-TV


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