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Danbury Public Works Director explains cause of North Street water main break

Danbury's Public Works Director was asked recently by City Councilman Duane Perkins about what can be done about a spate of water main breaks.


Antonio Iadarola says some water main breaks are unavoidable, for example when there's a stub coming off the main that doesn't get picked up in the Call Before You Dig process.  He says that's what happened by Exit 6 when a million gallons of water spilled into the street.


Iadarola says it's a complicated issue.  He noted that no contractor purposely tries to break a water main because it creates havoc.  But if the City sees an intentional disregard for Call Before You Dig markings, they will go after the contractor and also file a complaint with Call Before You Dig.  Iadarola says Call Before You Dig investigates those contractors who continuously disregard the markings.


He says the look at each case on an individual basis.


When the City loses a significant amount of water, large valves have to be closed.  If they're closed too quick, Iadarola says the valve will blow apart.  He says the City has one of the best Water Departments in the state so they work quickly, while not damaging the infrastructure.  He says it's a balance to close the system without damage so there aren't more significant issues. 


Iadarola says both plants were affected, and they couldn't keep up making water because of the amount of loss.  He says it's a dangerous situation because if the wells that feed the entire city go dry, air and contaminants would have been put into the entire distribution chain.


All of the appropriate alarms went off, staff went to their posts and the plants came right back online.  Iadarola says they were able to maintain usage across the board, except for the piece that broke.

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