4 more water main breaks, including near Mercy Hospital

Jul 24, 2016

A new set of water main problems have occurred in Erie County.

The Erie County Water Authority announced 11 broken water mains in Amherst, Depew, Hamburg, West Seneca, Lackawanna and Lancaster Sunday. Some residents experienced low pressure or no water at all or discolored water.

According to the Erie County Water Authority, crews are still working on three minor leaks Monday morning.

In addition, Buffalo water crews are working to repair one on Abbott Road in front of Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo. The hospital says all water systems there are operating normally. The hospital remains open and fully operational. However, the Abbott Road entrance/exit to Mercy is closed until further notice as the break is repaired.

Catholic Health’s Sisters of Charity Hospital St. Joseph Campus also issued an update on the effects of the Wednesday main break in Amherst. The Cheektowaga hospital has ended its safety protocols after receiving word that its water is safe for drinking and washing.  The hospital has resumed its normal surgery schedule and patients, visitors and staff are free to use municipal water throughout the hospital.

For some perspective, the Authority says Erie County averages more than 1,100 line breaks per year, usually because of very cold or very hot weather or very busy periods. In addition to high temperatures, it says there is a high demand for water due to ongoing drought conditions.

The high rate of repair is due to the area's declining infrastructure - in many sections Erie County's pipes are 100 years old. The  infrastructure charge on customers' water bills funds ongoing efforts to update aging pipes.

There is no boil water advisory. Below is an ECWA fact sheet that can also be seen online at ecwa.org.

  • On average, the Erie County Water Authority distribution system experiences in excess of 1,100 line breaks per year.
     
  • Water distribution systems experience increased line breaks in very cold, very hot, or very busy periods. Today, in addition to high temperatures, there is a high demand for water due to ongoing drought conditions.
     
  • We normally pump 68 million gallons per day to our customers. Today, we are averaging 121 million gallons.
     
  • On July 24, 2016, our dispatch crews are addressing 11 leaks. This is not an unusually high number for a peak period.
     
  • Boil Water Notices are extremely rare; the last one issued by ECWA was 10 years ago. There is no reason to issue a Boil Water Notice today or for the other 1,100 breaks our crews will find and fix in the next 12 months. Again, these orders are very rarely necessary.
     
  • Our system's high rate of repair is due to the area's declining infrastructure - in many sections our pipes are 100 years old. ECWA's infrastructure charge to customers funds ongoing efforts to update these aging parts of its system.