Water main break backs traffic up onto Beltway BALITMORE COUNTY

July 23, 1993|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,Staff Writer

A 16-inch water main burst inside a pumping station near Reisterstown Road and the Baltimore Beltway about 1 p.m. yesterday, disrupting service in a wide area of northwestern Baltimore County, from Pikesville and Randallstown as far west as Reisterstown, public works officials said.

Streets around the pumping station were flooded as an estimated 1.5 million gallons from four elevated storage tanks in the area drained back through the system and out of the pumping station.

Police closed Reisterstown Road to traffic between the Beltway and Old Court Road for several hours, creating a huge backup that spread onto the Beltway as drivers waited for the Reisterstown Road exit ramps to clear.

Homes and businesses, including the Blue Cross/Blue Shield building in Owings Mills, reported that they were without water, and some offices sent their workers home.

Marcia Collins, a city Public Works Department spokeswoman, said that the break was isolated by 2:50 p.m. and that service was shifted to a newer pumping station nearby to restore pressure to the system.

Baltimore City operates the Metropolitan District water distribution system, which includes Baltimore County.

Gene L. Neff, Baltimore County public works director, said mechanics who were working on a valve in the pumping station when the pipe ruptured escaped without injury.

The four elevated storage tanks have a total capacity of 2.64 million gallons.

Water is drawn from the tanks to service customers during the day, and the tanks are refilled at night.

Mr. Neff estimated that the tanks would have been half full at the time of the break and that about 1.5 million gallons flooded out through the pumping station.

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