Water main break angers Dennison Ave. residents

WARREN — A water main break Tuesday on Dennison Avenue NW that took six hours to repair made already upset residents even more frustrated after the water department took near nearly 22 hours to get a repair done Sunday.

Patty Illijevich, a Dennison Avenue resident, said it was ridiculous that area residents had to wait all day Sunday to get a 12-foot crack in the water main repaired. It initially broke after 1 a.m. and was not repaired until 10 p.m. that night.

On Tuesday, the water department was again on Dennison Avenue NW from 9 a.m. to about 3 p.m., because the water main burst again.

Illijevich and her neighbors were especially frustrated Sunday because they did not see any work crews at the site of the repair until about 5 p.m. Sunday.

“I know my boyfriend and I called the water department at about 1 a.m. Sunday,” she said “I have neighbors who called later, at about 4 a.m, and others that kept calling during the day. It should not take that long to get a crew out.”

“They were neglectful and should take responsibility for people not having water,” she said. “Nearly 22 hours is a long time for people to be without water.

Utilities Director Franco Lucarelli said normally it would not have taken so long for help to arrive, but the department could not find enough people to send a crew to the scene.

“We sent a water distribution technician out there at about 1:30 a.m., who valved the line down,” Lucarelli said. “Valving a line down lowers the pressure on the line, so we can minimize the damage to the ground around the break, but also maintain enough water pressure in the lines so customers will have some water.”

At about 7 a.m., Sunday, a supervisor was sent to the neighborhood to assess the problem.

“We had a problem this past Sunday because we had one supervisor who was out of town and another supervisor who was sick,” Lucarelli said. “We also had to gather a crew to do the work.”

Lucarelli said it typically is not difficult to pull a crew together, because emergency weekend work provides overtime for those employees who go out to make the repairs.

“This weekend was unusual,” he said.

As for Tuesday’s break, Lucarelli said while it appears to have been at the same place, it actually was 10 to 15 feet up the line.

“It is not unusual that when we repair a break in one area, a weak area further down the line will break because to the increase pressure,” he said.

Lucarelli said he is talking to his supervisors to develop a plan to avoid a future situation where it would take the department so long to get a crew out to a broken line.