BY ANDREAS YILMA REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
BEACON FALLS — Aquarion Water Co. said it is looking into a New Year’s Day water main break in Seymour that left thousands of residents with no water for several hours is being investigated as elected officials call on the company to better inform residents when a distruption of service happens.
An Aquarion Water Co. water main broke in Seymour on Route 67 near the Shell gas station and Route 8 bridge overpass on Jan. 1 around noon. The water main break affected a few thousand residents in Seymour, Beacon Falls and Oxford. The water main was repaired later that day and normal water functions returned.
The water company began getting calls from customers and town officials at about 12:30 p.m. The majority from all three towns had low water pressure. The water main break was isolated at approximately 5:15 p.m. when several water valves were shut and workers began the repair process. Water pressure began returning at about 7 p.m. and water was turned back on at approximately 9 p.m. that evening, Aquarion Water spokesman Peter Fazekas said.
Aquarion was able to use its interconnection with South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority to bring more water into their system. Both systems are interconnected, Fazekas said.
Fazekas said workers replaced about 12 feet of pipe on Route 67. The water company doesn’t know what caused the water main to break, he added.
“They’re doing an investigation,” Fazekas said. “Collecting data to see if there’s any pressure spikes in the area where the break occurred.”
About half of the Beacon Falls customers experienced low pressure. Aquarion currently has about 1500 customers in town, Fazekas said.
First Selectman Gerard Smith was scheduled to meet with Aquarion President Donald Morrissey and the head of engineering on Jan. 12.
Smith said there are some residents that feel the town should take ownership of a utility that the town has no influence or jurisdiction over. Some residents also believe the town should be putting out a code red to let everyone know there’s no water working.
“As long as I’m first selectman, code red will be reserved for emergency situations, hurricanes, fires, and forest fires,” Smith said. “So if you get code red call as long as I’m first selectman, listen to the call. I’m not calling to tell you the power is out, I’m not calling to tell you your water is out. It’ll be a call to let you know that there was a catastrophe in town, pay attention and I’m going to give you direction that you need to follow.”
Smith said he was extremely frustrated at Aquarion and thinks it’s unacceptable that the water company’s official position is it doesn’t put out any information to the public and the town until it knows when the water is going to be put back on.
“Every customer should be told there is an interruption in service,” Smith said. “We’re working on it and we’ll give you more information when we can. So I’m going to address it.”