Water main break disrupts gas service


October 11, 2007|By Laura McCandlish | Laura McCandlish,Sun Reporter

A water main rupture on Route 27 in Westminster early this week flooded nearby gas lines, shutting off natural gas service for at least two days to about 150 downtown residents, businesses and restaurants, Baltimore Gas & Electric officials said yesterday.

BGE crews had restored nearly 70 percent of the gas connections yesterday, with the other repairs scheduled to be completed by the end of the day, said Linda Foy, a BGE spokeswoman.

But some customers, who had water enter their gas-fed appliances, will require plumbing repairs before their gas service can be restored, Foy said. Some appliances, such as stoves, water heaters or washers and dryers, might need to be replaced, she said.

About 100,000 gallons of water escaped when the main burst in Westminster early Monday morning, city public works director Jeff Glass said.

Water contaminated all the appliances at Johannsson's Dining House and Brewery on Main Street, slowing business there for several days, owner David Johannsson said.

Plumbers were working around the clock and mechanics will be in early today to determine whether the restaurant's furnaces, stoves, boiler and brewery boiler can be repaired or need replacing, Johannsson said.

Last night, the restaurant could serve only cold, light fare, such as salads and sandwiches, since gas had not been restored, Johannsson said.

The owner of Paradiso Ristorante and its sister pizzeria in downtown Westminster said he lost revenue because both restaurants were closed Monday and Tuesday. Gas connections were repaired at lunchtime yesterday.

"It's been a tough couple of days," owner Salvatore Romeo said.

BGE crews had been working around the clock in Westminster since Monday to repair the gas lines, Foy said. Crews had to interrupt each customer's service to make repairs and then re-light each gas pilot after connections were restored. Luckily, customers haven't needed their heat because of the unseasonably warm weather, she said.

"There's a big difference between a gas outage and an electrical outage in the time it takes to restore service," Foy said. "It's very, very time-consuming."


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