Broken water main patched after FPL subcontractor strikes pipe

Crews working to install replacement pipe

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A broken water main is now patched after a Florida Power & Light subcontractor struck the pipe Wednesday with an underground drill, Fort Lauderdale officials said.

Water service has been restored to much of Fort Lauderdale thanks to the short-term fix.

Meanwhile, crews are building a concrete bunker around the broken pipe.

While water was flowing Thursday morning in Fort Lauderdale and surrounding municipalities, taps started running dry by the afternoon.

The incident sent people scrambling after they heard they could be 24 hours without water.

According to Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, a subcontractor hired by FPL, Florida Communication Concepts, drilled a 6-inch hole in a 42-inch water main inside the restricted access gates at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

"All of the sudden, (there was) a big thing of water, almost like a fountain -- like it was going pretty high," one witness said.

"For whatever reason, (they) hit the pipe, knocked the hole about this big," Public Works Director Paul Berg said as he used his hands to show the size of the hole.  

It turns out that the pipe that was struck is the main line that runs from the raw water supply to the Fiveash water treatment plant.

The plant provides water to Fort Lauderdale, as well as to parts of Davie, Wilton Manors, Oakland Park, Lauderdale-by-the-sea, Sea Ranch Lakes, Tamarac and North Lauderdale. It also provides water to Port Everglades.

A citation has been issued to the private contractor.

"The facts will all be presented and they will speak for themselves," Florida Communication Concepts President Tim Hicks said on the phone to Local 10's Glenna Milberg. 

Work continues over the next few days to install a replacement pipe for a long-term fix, officials said.

A boil-water notice remains in effect for all affected areas. 

Bottled water will continue to be distributed through 7 p.m. Friday at the following locations to residents in need:

•    Beach Community Center - 3351 NE 33rd Ave.
•    Mills Pond Park - 2201 NW Ninth Ave.
•    Riverland Park - 950 SW 27th Ave.
•    Reverend Samuel Delevoe Park - 2520 NW Sixth St.