A water main break in Hunt Valley that created detours today and caused about 600 customers to lose water service may be fixed by sometime tonight, a city public works official said.
James L. Kapplin, a spokesman for the Baltimore Department of Public Works, said all 328 units at the Broadmead Retirement Community north of the last night's break will be without water until repairs are made. The outage also affects nearly 300 other residential and commercial customers along York Road near the break, he said.
Mr. Kapplin, who said the exact cause of the break was not known, added that additional water supply problems were not expected. He said a water tank in Sparks could supply the area for about 18 hours.
Workmen at the site said the break may have been caused by weakness in the pipe.
This morning, Baltimore County police re-routed commuters around roadway damaged when a 30-inch concrete main under York Road burst about 9 p.m. last night about 100 feet south of Shawan Road. A 40-foot-long section of the road collapsed. Also, the break caused a loss of water or water pressure to customers north along York Road toward Sparks.
Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, a spokesman for the county police, said traffic moved reasonably well through the detour during the morning traffic rush. Southbound traffic was forced to turn right onto Shawan Road and through the Hunt Valley Industrial Park before resuming travel on York Road. Northbound traffic was forced to turn left onto Schilling Road, through the industrial park and back to York at Shawan.
Mr. Kapplin said that within two hours of the break, nearly 100 people called to complain of either no water or low water pressure -- and in some cases, discolored water.
In less than 30 minutes, city and county utility crews were on the scene and turned off the flow of water flooding the roadway, but not before sections of York Road collapsed.
Once the break was located, Mr. Kapplin said, water that normally flows through the 30-inch main was diverted to a nearby 16-inch line.
"Until the 30-inch main is fixed," Mr. Kapplin said, "water customers along York Road north of Shawan Road all the way up to Sparks will have less water pressure but the water will be safe to drink."
At Broadmead, residents were using 20-gallon containers of water in each apartment cluster for flushing toilets. Officials had ordered bottled water for drinking, said Richard Compton, the director, and residents were being encouraged to drink other beverages.
Most of the bottled water was going to the community's nursing center so patients could take medication, Mr. Compton said.
"The residents here are being really good about all of this," he said.