Around a million gallons of water were lost in an hour after a water main broke in Middletown early Wednesday morning and that break forced city officials to close schools for the day.
Middlesex Hospital also canceled surgeries for the entire day and the emergency department was on diversion for part of the day.
Mayor Daniel Drew said a major 24-inch water main burst just before 5 a.m. off Silver Mine Road, near the Rushford Center and Connecticut Valley Hospital.
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He described the water main break like a burst artery near your heart and said the loss of the main was less important than how quickly it lost water.
"Think of a water tank on your property with two pipes – one that empties onto your lawn and one that empties into your house. Imagine the pipe to your lawn bursting and emptying most of your tank’s water onto the lawn, leaving little for the house. That’s roughly analogous to what happened this morning," Drew said in a statement.
The challenge was to get the leak stopped before everything in the tank was lost.
"At the end of the day, whatever caused it, it's more important that we can get everybody back online as quickly as possible," Drew said on Wednesday morning.
Crews managed to stop the leak and begin treating and replenishing water. As of 1:30 p.m., the levels of treated water and pressures were back to normal, Drew said.
Water crews will continue to monitor systems through the evening and are prepared to handle more pipe bursts should they occur as they are flushed and pressure changes, the mayor said.
The water is safe to use if it is clear, but residents and businesses could have discolored water in the next few days and anyone who experiences this should run cold water for five to 10 minutes, or until the water runs clear.
The state Department of Public Health has tested the water and it is in the appropriate parameters, the mayor said.
Vinal Technical High School, Mercy High School, Xavier High School, Saint John Paul II Regional School and Middlesex Community College and the Middlesex YMCA are all closed today because of a water main break.
Because of the water main break, Middlesex Hospital in Middletown originally said they were postponing all surgeries until noon, but have since canceled all surgeries other than emergency surgeries for the rest of the day. Hospital officials said as of 4 p.m. water was fully restored at their facility after they did their own internal flushing.