From Mayor Dan Drew.
A major 24-inch water main burst this morning off of Silver Mine Road near the Rushford Center and CVH. This is like a burst artery near your heart and the difficulty from it was that already-treated water was gushing rapidly out of our system.
The consequence of this is that water was draining quickly out of our reserve tanks and the treatment plant could not keep up supplying the necessary water for the rest of the community. When this happens, pressure drops and supply is cut off to some places. It also got air into the pipe and resulted in reverse flows in the pipe. That leads to discolored and/or cloudy water.
We isolated the main and shut it down and the system is now coming back to normal with water levels and pressures building up.
We have begun flushing the water lines throughout the city – beginning in critical areas like near Middlesex Hospital – to clear the lines of debris. This debris and turbidity is normal and non-toxic, but as a precautionary measure we advise you not to use cloudy water. If you must use it, boil it first. Get some bottled water for your use today.
We expect pressure to return to normal approximately in the early afternoon. We’ll be flushing areas of pipe throughout the next several days. We must do this slowly to avoid rapid pressure changes and further bursts of pipe.
Here are some pertinent facts about what we’ve done and what you’ll experience today:
-We are asking people to avoid using the tap whenever possible to give us time to replenish pressure and flush pipes. That said, if water is clear it can be used safely.
-We have mutual aid tanker trucks stationed at each of the city’s three fire departments as a backup precaution in the event of a structure fire. Southeastern Connecticut towns have sent an additional five tanker trucks and two hose tenders that will have MPD escorts in the event of a fire. This provides us with tens of thousands of gallons of backup water for fire suppression.
-Our Emergency Operations Center is open with a unified command
-Middlesex Hospital is diverting ambulance patients to other hospitals and we are coordinating additional potable water tanker deliveries for hospital patients.
-The CT DPH will be collecting water samples in conjunction with our water and Health departments to ensure water quality.
-Most of the Westfield section of town will be relatively unaffected because it is being fed off of an already-treated tank at the Higby facility.
-Middletown public schools, Vinal Tech, Middlesex and all of our parochial schools are closed so that we can flush and replenish pipes.
I will keep you posted throughout the day. Thank you!