DALTON -- By Thursday morning, the broken water transmission line serving Dalton and Pittsfield should be permanently fixed, town and city officials said on Tuesday.
Once a specialized pipe arrives from Illinois, repairs are expected to begin Wednesday evening to the 24-inch concrete pipeline accidentally punctured Monday morning on Housatonic Street, according to city officials.
"Repairing the main is a high priority since this transmission main provides about two-thirds of the city's water," Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi said in a statement.
Dalton's entire municipal water supply comes from line linked to the Cleveland Reservoir Water Treatment Plant in Hinsdale.
During the final repairs, the transmission line will be shut down for about six hours, interrupting service until early Thursday morning.
"We're going to flush the line before we open it to feed the rest of the system to minimize the dirty water," said Pittsfield Commissioner of Public Utilities Bruce Collingwood.
The city is hiring a private contractor to do the work, after the Pittsfield Water Department, assisted by the Dalton Fire District, made temporary repairs to the pipe Monday evening about 12 hours after another contractor accidentally drilled into the line, near LP Adams Co.
Collingwood didn't fault the workers as 40-year old city plans showed the line in the middle of Housatonic Street, rather along the side of the road where the drilling occurred.
Police are keeping a vigil over the site of the water main break on Housatonic Street between South Carson Avenue and Depot Street. The area remains blocked off to traffic until the water line is repaired and the gaping hole from excavation is filled in.
Meanwhile, Dalton's water emergency is in effect until further notice as town officials urge residents to refrain from unnecessary water use, such as watering the lawn and gardens, and washing the car. The town currently has full water service, but water conservation is needed until the repairs are complete and the water system is fully recharged, according to Dalton Emergency Management Director Dan Filiault.
"We're making sure our two water tanks are full as a back-up," Filiault said. "When we recharge the system, we'll have some roily water, but for now there have been no reports of dirty water."
Parts of Pittsfield experienced brown-colored water on Tuesday, according to city officials and those who notified The Eagle. Residents may also have sporadic low water pressure until the water system is fully operational.
Berkshire Medical Center reported the water problems had a minimal affect on the hospital.
"We experienced roily water in our bathroom facilities," noted BMC spokesman Michael Leary, "but we had no issues with the quality of water used in patient care."
To reach Dick Lindsay: firstname.lastname@example.org, or (413) 496-6233