Fort Lauderdale water service restored, but another interruption 'very possible'


Water service was restored to the city of Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas Friday following a temporary repair to a major water main that was damaged by a construction crew.

The broken 42-inch pipe had forced the city to cut off access to running water Thursday during a hot summer day. Even with the restoration of service, the city said a “boil water” notice remained in effect for all water customers until further notice.

Mayor Dean Trantalis said the temporary fix involved building a concrete bunker around the broken part of the damaged pipe. 

“We continue to work on a long-term resolution,” he said. “It is very possible we will again lose water service as we make continued long-term repairs.”

The city, which estimated 220,000 customers were affected, began shutting down service to the Fort Lauderdale and surrounding towns Thursday at around 7 a.m.

The shutdown prompted a run on water at local stores. Many businesses, along with the county courthouse, were shut down and many hotels evacuated and relocated guests.

Trantalis, who declared a state of emergency, blamed the disruption on a private contractor that was repairing lines for Florida Power and Light when it struck the water main on the grounds of the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

The subcontractor was cited and issued a notice to appear in an enforcement action, the mayor said.

The city, which has 23 miles of Atlantic resort beachfront, tapped water reserves to keep water flowing in the short run.

Palm Beach County to the north dispatched several tanker trucks to the Broward County city of 180,000 as it faced temperatures as high as 89 degrees.

Contributing: John Bacon, Vandana Ravikumar, USA TODAY

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