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May 16, 2013

Water work goes on after valve break

GLOUCESTER — Work on a Department of Public Works water infrastructure project continued to snarl traffic around one of Gloucester’s busiest intersections Tuesday.

But the ongoing work that prompted brief detours around the Tally’s Corner traffic island at Main, Washington, Rogers and Commercial streets was part of a continuing project — and not connected to the valve break and service shutoff that left a number of residents and businesses without water service for several hours Tuesday night.

A Department of Public Works official said Wednesday that, as soon as the problem Thursday was identified as a broken water gate valve, the city began repairs.

Jay Jarosz, the DPW’s operations manager of utilities, said the problem was fixed and water restored sometime after 9 p.m. Tuesday to Washington and Commercial Streets and to the section of Main that had been shut off — between Washington and Hancock streets.

The broken valve was found after carrying out a much larger infrastructure project at Tally’s Corner, and that work continued as planned on Wednesday.

Jarosz said that, because the water was shut off for so long, the water lines had to be flushed out to ensure the water was up to par.

“We flushed the whole area, they should be in good shape,” he said Wednesday morning.

The break in the water gate valve Tuesday had immediately cut off water service to some residents and businesses on Commercial Street and up to Fort Square, then the city shut down service along Main Street and Commercial later in to carry out repairs.

Public Works Director Mike Hale had noted that the valve was broken in the completely off position; in most instances, he said, valve is broken halfway between on and off.

While some of the work scheduled was a set of valve replacements, Tuesday’s break meant that officials had to address the problem sooner rather than later, given that it kept water from reaching customers in that part of the city.

“It forced our hand to take care of the problem now,” Hale said.

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