2018-04-04

More repairs to come in Queens County water plant

by Karen Janigan

A cracked pipe in the water treatment plant led to a water shutdown in Liverpool and Brooklyn March 26. It also flooded parts of the plant that had automatic equipment, and which will need replacing, according to the director of engineering and public works.

Brad Rowter gave a report to the Region of Queens Municipal Council on the situation that caused water to the region to be off from about 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

"The line off the main transmission line in the water treatment plant broke right at the shut-off valve," he told councillors. "One of the worst places it could break."

The water that rushed into the plant – about 9,000 gallons, he estimated – flooded the electronic instrumentation and the various pumps. The water had to be turned off and the water evacuated from the treatment plant.

After a repair to the pipe was carried out, workers had to ensure that the pumps would work properly, which took some time, delaying water service to the area until mid-afternoon. People were still complaining about discoloured water the next morning, despite flushing overnight.

"Problem we have now, though, and we experienced this last night, is that there are many, many technical issues with that plant because there are so many ground faults," Rowter said. "Electrical problems that occurred with the flooding.

"Now we're faced with a bill that we have to replace the ...[equipment]. There are additional repairs that will have to be done."

Rowter said he has no idea why the pipe failed; the plant is only 10 years old. He also said the crew will work on the permanent repairs that have to be done to minimize or eliminate the problems with water supply.

Mayor David Dagley praised the crew for their diligent work, calling where it failed a "problematic area.

"We have electrical damage to that section of the plant." Dagley said. "There will be equipment replacement on the electronics and how expensive I really don't have an understanding of it and I don't think that our staff have a complete handle on how much needs to be replaced.

"But certainly, whatever was under water electronically would have shorted out."

Added the mayor: "We're lucky that we have staff who were able to identify it right away, but when you have huge pipes it doesn't take long to move a huge flow of water."

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