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 Work on water main cracked a valve


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By Gina Zotti, Staff Writer


Work on a water main reportedly cracked a valve, causing flooding in Sadsbury development

SADSBURY -- The Palotases planned a big holiday party for Saturday.

They didn’t plan on having to dry out their home three days beforehand.

Like more than 175 of their Sadsbury Village neighbors, Aimee and Mike Palotas spent Thursday afternoon mopping up three-inch puddles and tearing up ruined carpets after a pressure surge led to their hot water heater overflowing.

A contractor working to tie in new service to an existing main reportedly cracked a valve, opening a 12-inch pipe that expelled about a half million gallons of water, said Nancy Sharp, communications manager with Pennsylvania American Water.

That leak caused a surge of pressure which in turn disabled pressure- reducing valves in residents’ homes.

Sharp said the company was attempting to "deal with the aftereffects" Thursday before "looking for a cause."

Besides a wet mess, residents also dealt with low water pressure while the water storage tanks took time to replenish. Water pressure was expected to return to normal by the end of today. Sharp said no one was without water completely.

Pennsylvanian American Water worked to fix the crack located in the Bellaire Corporate Park, formerly the Airport Industrial Park, on Lincoln Highway.

Residents in single family homes in the Quarry Ridge development and townhouses in the Sadsbury Village development were greeted by letters from the water company informing them of the pressure surge and warning them of possible damage to their homes.

Mike Palotas learned of the problem when a representative from Ryan Homes, owners of Sadsbury Village, called him at work.

"We didn’t know how bad our house was going to be," Palotas said. But, he decided to skip the rest of a busy day of work to make the hourlong drive home from Delaware to check it out.

He found his basement, actually the bottom floor of his home but which is above grade, was full of water. Puddles of standing water also gathered where the linoleum floor sloped. The area around his third-floor toilet was also wet.

Palotas said he decided to just tear up the carpeting that ran through his basement into his garage because it was so badly damaged.

"When you stepped on it, a huge puddle of water formed around your foot," he said.

Thursday evening, the couple drove to the store in search of sand and dehumidifiers.

Palotas also worried about future problems because water had soaked up into his insulation and drywall.

"You can get mold in the first 48 hours," he said. "Mold is a huge issue. It’s one of the first things they check for when you sell your house."

Not that Palotas has any current intentions of selling his home -- he’s only lived there six months. But, in that six months, he said this was not his first issue with the water company.

"To be honest, we’ve had nothing but problems with them since we moved into our house," he said.

He has been charged on bills for using enough water to fill two swimming pools, he said, which was obviously more usage than he said he had most likely used in his entire time at the house.

Businesses such as Blue Spot Laundry, located across the street from Sadsbury Village, were also affected.

Owner John Lymberis said that there was not much damage. He just called the plumber out to fix the problem.

"It was nothing that was a disaster, but it was a pain in the neck," he said.

The water company told its customers to fix the problems on their own and contact their insurance company.

"We do not do repairs on people’s homes," said Sharp. "We’re only responsible up to the curb stop."

After a claim has been filed, residents can contact the water company, whose insurance company would get back in touch with them, she said.

İDaily Local News 2005

Reader Opinions: 

Name: John Russo

Date: Dec 18, 2004

From what I see, it isn't as bad, but knowing that Electronic Boutiques( on the street where the inccident occured) did not have any water, and bathrooms where out of service and no water to drink. How horrible could it be needing to walk outside to use the porterpotty, no lights, and about 30%degree out? mm, sounds rough, doesnt it?

Name: Patricia Ault

Date: Dec 17, 2004

I just wanted inform you that other companies also experienced the surge in water pressure. The Rampmaster company (Bellaire Business Center) had a pressure release valve break in the ceiling and it looked like Nigara Fall for a few minutes until we could shut off the main valve. The small water heater over the restroom had to be replaced. The all the toliets also overflowed from the tanks shortly after the initial surge. It made for a very interesting morning. We have many damaged ceiling tiles, water damage on an original painting in the restroom and also had to replace a small water heater. We did not lose any water service.


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