New London lifts state of emergency

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — As of late Thursday afternoon, New London’s mayor says the water main break is 90-percent contained.

Veolia Water crews are among many who jumped into action after the break in a 20-inch cast iron transmission line was detected Wednesday night. It was located by crews the next morning. Joseph Lanzafam, the director of public utilities says, “The reason why this was so difficult to find is not only was it in the woods it was located near a marshy swampy area. So we were losing in excess of 10 million gallons a day of water.”

The city knew there was a problem when water pressure dropped significantly Wednesday night at a time there is not much usage. Folks at this New London Housing Authority complex also noticed the change. Sue Shontell says, “Well we lost water pressure over the course of last evening culminating in no water this morning.”

Mayor Daryl Finizio declared a state of emergency calling on residents to conserve water and praising the quick actions of those who identified the problem and worked to fix it shutting off nearby valves and using an inflatable bladder to isolate the break. The mayor says, “I cannot stress enough as I have earlier today that this was one of the most significant threats to our water system that we’ve ever faced and that our crews responded quickly and ably.”

The city may have avoided the worst-case scenario which would have meant a water outage city wide and several days to fix it, but it was prepared for it. Many especially those in this public housing complex on Colman Street are happy that scenario may have been avoided.

“Absolutely yes, with a building full of seniors and disabled, sooner is better than later,” says Shontell.

Workers believe recent flash flooding caused the pipe to crack. Lanzafame says, “It probably wasn’t erosion it was more super saturation of the soil in the area and the bedding of the pipe was probably disturbed and it caused a stress crack in the cast iron.”

He says because the pipes are older, others may also break in New London and in most other cities and towns in the state.

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