Complications delay water main repairs in Pinellas County Florida
Crews continue to work on the water main break Monday on Belcher Road in Pinellas County.
BY RACHEL PLEASANT
The Tampa Tribune
Published: December 27, 2010
Updated: 8 min. ago
LARGO – Work on a water main break in Pinellas County ran into complications today, throwing the timeline for repairs off by several days.
According to Dave Baker, public information manager for the county, the size of the pipe to be repaired is causing some difficulties for the crews on site and a large amount of concrete will have to be removed in the process.
“It’s a huge job,” Baker said.
Crews had hoped to have the 48-inch water main break repaired by Tuesday, but now that won’t happen until later in the week.
Baker said the county has temporary water lines going to several of the 38 nearby industrial and commercial properties that had been without water service since the water main broke Dec. 23. The county is working to get more temporary lines installed. Bottled water and water bladders that can be used to fill jugs also are being provided.
“We know it’s a hardship,” Baker said.
With the water main repairs now pushed to the end of the week, the repair of Belcher Road between East Bay Drive and Ulmerton Road won’t be complete until next week, Baker said. The original plan was to have the road open to accommodate New Year’s holiday traffic. Repairs involve filling the hole around the underground pipeline with dirt and repaving the roadway.
Jack Rice, who owns Jack Rice insurance, was among the business owners returning to work today who had to deal without having any water.
“We scrambled quickly,” Rice said. “We called and ordered a Port-a-Potty.”
Dan Valdes, manager of Pete’s New York Barber & Hair, 1608 S. Belcher Road, said the repairs can’t be made quickly enough. The water main break is taking a big bite out of the shop’s business as customers are avoiding the traffic problems in the area.
“This is our high season, when we make most of our money,” Valdes said. “Normally, we’re elbow to elbow in here on a Monday but today it’s dribs and drabs. We can get away with it for a few days but it’s a real hassle.”
The water main break had forced 100,000 residents to boil their water, but that order was lifted Sunday. Those residents now are receiving water through other lines. Once the water main is repaired, they’ll receive their water as usual.
News Channel 8 reporter Josh Green contributed to this report.
How it all started: Water main pipe bubbles, bursts during investigation
By Angeeneh Adamian, Reporter; Bay News 9
The incident started when work crews noticed water bubbling up from a water line at S. Belcher Road and 142nd Avenue around 5:30 p.m. Thursday23/dec/2010. They began investigating and that’s when the pipe blew.
“They noticed a leak. Our engineering people from utilities came out, directed the crews in digging up that leak to see what it was and when the weight of the soil was relieved off of that pipe, that weakened pipe ruptured,” Powell said.
Crews were worried that might happen, which is why they’ve been working for months to replace the water main that was originally installed in 1975.
“We wanted to get it done before this old pipe had a chance to fail,” Powell said. “Unfortunately, it seems to have beat us to the punch and we’re working catch up now.”
To repair the break, crews must first pump out the water from the area of the break, then inspect the damage. Then the actual repairs can begin.