Quick action restored water in Fox Chapel, kept senior golfers on course

Tawnya Panizzi
| Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Kenny Perry may have won the Constellation Senior Players Championship but there were others who deserved a trophy during the prestigious PGA event at Fox Chapel Golf Club.

Namely, employees of the Fox Chapel Authority who saved the day when a water main valve blew off a 16-inch line at 10:30 p.m. June 28 — the evening before the last round of golf.

The malfunction cut off water service to the golf club and two neighboring streets.

“It was an interesting situation,” said Mark Nicely, manager at the water authority. “That's a primary feed into the distribution system and it had to be shut down.”

The golf club and the next day's expected crowd of up to 10,000 would have been left without water, resulting in a delay of the PGA tournament had Nicely's crew not jumped into action.

Alerted at about 10:30 p.m. on Friday night, Nicely said there was a column of water shooting about 50 feet in the air, just off Fox Chapel Road near the golf club.

“It had the power lines arcing,” he said.

The fix wasn't as simple as replacing the corroded bolts.

“There were interesting twists,” said Nicely, who oversees service for more than 5,400 residents in Fox Chapel, O'Hara, Indiana Township and Harmar.

The water line casings are an old style no longer used by the authority.

“They changed the bolt pattern and we couldn't use what we had in stock,” Nicely said.

He credits Water Supervisor Paul Marini with the big rescue. Marini recalled that the borough had similar vintage valves at a pump station along Rockwood Drive and retrieved one for use on the golf club line.

Fox Chapel Police Chief David Laux said Marini's quick thinking averted a disastrous situation for the golf club and the PGA.

“He went on his own and got the valve, which was above and beyond,” Laux said. “Without water, the Health Department would have had to stop the golf event. The whole crew did a spectacular job.”

Nicely echoed the chief's comments, saying his crew worked so efficiently that the golf club cooks were able to start breakfast without delay that Saturday morning.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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