Baltimore Co. water main break has been repaired

Running water restored to Northwest Balto. Co. residents and businesses who were out of service since Saturday

March 10, 2010|By Liz F. Kay | liz.kay@baltsun.com | Baltimore Sun reporter

The water main break that left tens of thousands of Northwest Baltimore County residents without water for days has been repaired and is back in service, according to Baltimore's director of public works.

DPW Director David Scott thanked residents for their patience while repairs took place after the break was discovered Saturday.

The repairs were completed early Wednesday morning, said DPW spokeswoman Celeste Amato, a full day before the original Thursday estimate.

That approximation was based on weather forecasts that called for rain, she said. The damaged 36-inch main was located under a stream near a steep wooded embankment.

"If we had to pump that while making repairs, that would have slowed us down," Amato said. Deliveries of supplies also arrived from out of state in time.

Public Works officials advised those who have restored water:

• Turn the water on and allow time for any air to clear from your water lines.

• Cloudy or discolored water, and/or some visible sediment, is normal after a main repair — run the water until it runs clear.

• Smelling traces of chlorine is also normal after a repair due to sanitation of the lines — this is not harmful and will dissipate

• Remove faucet aerators and clear any sediment to improve water flow.

• For water concerns, county residents can call 410-396-5352.

Crews will be on hand in case any areas report any difficulties. The water is safe to drink and use, Amato said — boiling or other measures are not necessary.

Scott predicted Tuesday afternoon that the break would be repaired by Thursday and that parts needed to repair the break were on its way from Ohio. He said crews were planning to work around the clock until the break was fixed. Attempts to fix the water main were complicated by its position. The broken area of the 36-inch main was under a stream, which a contractor had to divert, said Baltimore public works spokesman Kurt Kocher. A temporary road was built through the wooded area to the stream, and the damaged pipe was exposed Tuesday, he said.

Baltimore County emergency management distributed drinking and nonpotable water Monday through today. On Monday, county staff gave away water to more than 1,100 households. The water distribution center is now closed.

Eleven public schools were also closed Monday through today.

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