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Update from Mayor Trantalis Regarding Water Supply

Post Date:July 18, 2019 7:00 PM

UPDATE FROM MAYOR TRANTALIS REGARDING WATER SUPPLY

See a PDF of the statement here pdf

Thursday, July 18, 2019, 6:00 p.m. -- I have some good news to report. A solution seems to be at hand to today’s emergency that resulted from a break in a major water main. Our staff is fairly confident of a repair plan underway and expects to know for sure in the hours ahead. 

Our public works staff and their contractors have developed a solution to deal with the break and are in the process of implementing it. Water is now flowing … albeit at a lower pressure than normal … and should be back to near normal sometime this evening.  

As you know, a contractor yesterday broke a 42-inch city pipe that supplies water from our wellfields to the water treatment plant. As a result, we lost water supply to the city and the other cities that we serve. 

So, here is what we’re doing to make the necessary repairs.  

We managed to put a partial patch in the hole in the water main. Water pressure began increasing as a result. We are now building a concrete bunker around the broken part of the pipe that will seal the break. It will protect the patch and shore the pipe up from any breaks. 

The bunker should be completed by 10 p.m. and should allow the Fiveash Water Treatment Plant to return to near normal operation. This will give us time to work on a permanent repair which will entail redirecting the water flow to a backup line. There are two options to accomplish the transfer to the backup line — either by using shutoff valves or by building a temporary bypass.  

Once the water is flowing through the backup line, we will be able to install a replacement pipe to the primary main. 

Please remember that even if these solutions succeed, the boil water notice remains in effect and will likely last for at least 48 hours. 

It is imperative that folks in the affected areas continue to boil their water prior to consuming it. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. 

Because the boil water remains in effect, we will reopen distribution points around the city and continue to provide bottled water to residents in need. Those sites are at Mills Pond Park, the Beach Community Center and Riverland Park. We expect to operate these sites through the length of the boil water notice.  

I would like to thank Gov. DeSantis and his emergency preparedness director, Jared Moskowitz, for allowing us quick access to the state’s bottled water reserves. They have sent about 100,000 bottles of water.  

I am also happy to report that we have received no reports of any significant issues as a result of the water emergency. Broward County and the city were in contact with critical care facilities to ensure any needs were met, but we received no requests for special assistance.  

I would like to thank city staff, particularly the Public Works Department, for a quick response to a crisis. It speaks well for the city’s ability to respond to the unexpected emergencies.  

If residents have any concerns or questions, please call our 24-hour Neighbor Call Center at 954-828-8000. 

With the anticipated resolution to the water break, the city will focus on investigating how this accident occurred. As I stated earlier today, Florida Communication Concepts, a subcontractor repairing electric lines for FPL struck and damaged the main at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. They have been cited and we have launched an enforcement action. 

We will provide updates as available. 

Sincerely, 

Dean J. Trantalis
Mayor 


STATEMENT FROM MAYOR TRANTALIS REGARDING WATER SUPPLY

See a PDF of the statement here pdf

Thursday, July 18, 2019, Noon -- Yesterday, a contractor broke a 42-inch city pipe that supplies water to our water treatment plant. As a result, we have lost water supply to the city and the other cities that receive water from us.

City crews are working as fast as possible to restore service. If everything goes well, we could have water available by this evening. In the meantime, we have launched emergency procedures and have set up locations to offer bottled water to any residents in need.

What happened is that Florida Communication Concepts, a subcontractor repairing electric lines for FPL struck and damaged the main in the vicinity of 2525 NW 55 Court on the grounds of Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. They have been cited and have been issued a notice to appear in an enforcement action.

The water main supplies raw water from the City’s wellfields, which are located west of the airport, to the Fiveash water treatment plant.

It’s important to note that the subcontractor was not doing work for the City, nor was the work related to any city or airport project. 

Crews responded immediately to assess the situation and worked through the night attempting to shut down the valves that control the water flow in order to activate a bypass line.

While the work was taking place, the damaged pipe collapsed necessitating that the water flow from the wells be shut off.

We are working on three solutions simultaneously:

First, crews continue to work on shutting down large valves (each of which takes approximately 700 turns to shut off) in an attempt to activate the bypass line and get the flow of water going back into the Fiveash plant.

Second, a replacement pipe was located in Miami-Dade County. Crews traveled to Kendall to pick up the pipe and materials and are back on site working to replace the pipe.

Third, we have a third crew flying in from out of state that will attempt to put a line stop on the damaged line that will also allow a bypass to be activated.

As of 11:30 am, the Fiveash water treatment plant has stopped providing service. In addition to Fort Lauderdale, the following cities and areas are expected to be impacted:

-Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

-Oakland Park

-Port Everglades Authority

-Village of Sea Ranch Lakes

-Wilton Manors

-Sections of Davie and Tamarac

The number of impacted customers total more than 220,000.

A map of affected areas is available on our webpage at www.fortlauderdale.gov

We have issued a boil water notice in accordance with state and federal regulatory requirements.  It is imperative that folks in the affected areas boil their water prior to consuming it. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice.

If you still have water service, we urge everyone to limit use. Please turn off all irrigation systems and only use water when absolutely necessary.

I have signed a proclamation declaring a local state of emergency to expedite obtaining any necessary supplies, equipment or materials to address this as quickly and efficiently as possible.

We have opened three locations for bottled water distribution:

  • Beach Community Center

    3351 NE 33rd Avenue
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308

  • Mills Pond Park

    2201 NW 9th Avenue
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311

  • Riverland Park
    950 SW 27th Avenue
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

We have conducted a rapid assessment of critical facilities such as nursing homes and hospitals. They are reporting no issues at this time, but we are on standby to take action as necessary.

Fire Rescue has mutual aid in place for fire suppression.

Palm Beach County has supplied a tanker truck which will be located at Station 53 at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.  Miami-Dade has supplied a tanker truck that will be located at Station 13 on Sunrise Boulevard on Fort Lauderdale Beach and Broward County has supplied a tanker that will located at Station 46 at Mills Pond Park.

The Fort Lauderdale Police Department has brought in extra personal to handle calls and ensure the safety and protection of our community during this uncertain time.

I would like to thank Gov. DeSantis, Emergency Director Jared Moskowitz and lawmakers, including Rep. LaMarca, for their offers of state assistance. The state has sent bottled water for us to distribute. Broward Mayor Mark Bogen and the county staff are also assisting.

Please continue to call our 24-hour Call Center at 954-828-8000 with any concerns.

We will provide updates as available.

Sincerely,

Dean J. Trantalis
Mayor

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