Explosion causes major water outage in North Stonington

NORTH STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Hundreds of people in North Stonington have gone all day without running water due to an explosion at a pumping facility in the middle of the night. Officials are working on getting a temporary fix in place, but they do not yet know exactly when service will be restored.

Locals are filling up jugs of water at the local fire station by the gallon.

“It is inconvenient because we never run out of water,” said Mike Kimball. “Even when we have a storm and it knocks out power, we have a generator running, so I am unaccustomed to this.”

Josh Cansler, General Manager of the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority, says the explosion that caused the problems happened in a hydro-pneumatic tank. The “catastrophic failure” of that tank blew apart the pump house, causing the roof to collapse.

“The building was totally demolished,” said North Stonington First Selectman Nicholas Mullane. “The end of the tank came off and it totally disrupted the pumps and piping.”

That pump house is in the woods near Hewitt Road. The State Police Fire Marshals are investigating and the area is off limits right now. One neighbor says the explosion woke him up out of a sound sleep and sounded like a car accident.

Repairing the damage will not be easy. This is not like a water main where you just replace a broken pipe. This is the machinery that gets the water into the pipe in the first place. The entire pump station needs to replaced.

For now, water tankers will be used to help those affected.

“The first phase is to put water in the system and flush it through,” said Mullane. “People will be able to use that for normal activities in the house.”

Officials say locals need to conserve the resources.

“Because of the demand that the system takes, which is what’s in the truck, we are going to ask people to respect a conservation,” said Mullane. “We shouldn’t be washing cars, watering the lawn, the garden or anything like that.”

They also want to make sure those affected boil the water.

“We want to make sure those take the necessary health precautions to not get sick,” said Mullane.

“I’m not going to cook with it,” said Kimball. “As for conserving, I’m not going to use much more than 20 gallons I’ve got to flush my toilets.”

Water from the tankers should be up and running Tuesday night.

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