Aging infrastructure causes headaches for Hollywood's North Beach area residents

Water service interruptions continue at barrier island

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – The salt water intrusion from the ocean is affecting the aging pipes, and the water main breaks have become more and more frequent in Hollywood North Beach, an exclusive barrier island.

Recently a private contractor for FPL damaged some of the rusty underground system, and it has not been the same since. There have been three water main breaks in the past month and some residents are growing tired of the interruptions in service.

"I dont' want this to continuously happen to us down here," said Francis Kennedy, a North Beach resident. "You don't get no notice and you are wondering where the hell the water is."

On Thursday, a private contractor caused a water main break at Sheridan Street and A1A. The bursting pipes flooded an area near Hollywood North Beach park. Crews completed emergency repairs Friday, but the inconvenience isn't over. 

Mary Wood, another North Beach resident, shares Kennedy's frustration. She believes the frequency of the problem is now something to pay attention to. Every time there is a water main break, she and other residents don't have access to potable water in their kitchens and bathrooms. 

"All of a sudden the pressure was very low and in a very brief period of time there was no water," Wood said about Thursday's water main break. 

The city has a costly citywide plan to replace the aging water and sewer pipes. It started as a five-year, $200 million-plus water and sewer capital improvement program in 2009. 

A city spokesman said crews have also implemented measures to make it easier to get to a water main break and isolate the problem it if it happens again. Engineers are also reassessing if the pipes affected need to be replaced sooner. 

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