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Washington Twp. deals with water line breaks

| Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

The most wide-spread water outage in recent history was a learning experience for the Authority of Washington Township, officials said Monday.

More than 200 Washington Township homes were without water following a water line break over the weekend.

The interruption began shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, affecting customers in Gillespie and parts of Jefferson Estates, Hamer Road, and Navaho Hollow.

During Monday's board meeting, plant manager Joe Alvarez said the break was discovered under a stream. Crews were repairing the line Saturday, but a drill bit broke underground, delaying the work. It took three drilling attempts to repair the pipe.

A second break occurred off Route 906 in Naomi as well, Alvarez said.

Crews were on the scene until 7:30 p.m. Sunday and returned the next morning, completing all repairs by 1 p.m. Monday, Alvarez said.

Township Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Keffer said Alvarez kept in touch with him throughout the outage and commended the authority for setting up a water tank for residents.

Resident Karen Seibel claimed the water tank was not set up until after residents complained.

Board member Julius Petrosky defended their actions.

“This was the largest break we've had,” Petrosky said. “We stumbled a little.”

Stan Regal, owner of Regal Industries, which worked alongside authority workers to help repair the line, said the work was done as quickly as possible.

“No one can say we stumbled. This is as fast as it could have been done,” Regal said.

“Sam, there's no finger pointing,” Petrosky replied.

Office manager Jan Amoroso said the authority does not have updated telephone numbers for some customers, hampering efforts to alert them of the water line break. At Amoroso's request, the board authorized the office manager to set up an authority Facebook page and an additional page on its website to provide updates in the event of future water service disruptions.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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