Mishap In Montrose Leads To Water Main Break

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MONTROSE -- For the second time in a week, crews installing natural gas lines in Montrose hit a water main, this time knocking out the water service to a busy business district in that part of Susquehanna County.

Newswatch 16 was there not long after the pipe got hit by a drill and water came gushing out.

Water rushed down Lake Avenue in Montrose when workers installing gas lines for Leatherstocking Gas Company hit a Pennsylvania American Water Company water main right around noon.

"When utilities share the same space, we try to stay as far apart as we can, but in this case we happened to collide," said Don Kessler, Pennsylvania American Water.

This is the second time this week the gas line project led to a water main break, but the water company said there are challenges for the project running natural gas lines throughout Montrose. The water system is old, and not perfectly mapped out.

"Some of the mains aren't metal mains, so tracing them and locating them exactly is the biggest challenge," Kessler said.

"This water break has caused us a lot of problems," said Ed Dewitt, manager of the Montrose Club.

Just down the hill, the water turned brown at the Montrose Club shortly after the main broke.

Pennsylvania American had to shut off water there and to the busy business district along Route 706.

But the Montrose club also had to deal with a mess from all the water rushing out of that main.

"We have a lot of mud that is going to have to be scraped off our tennis courts and then be recoated with brick dust," Dewitt said.

The water main that broke supplies the Endless Mountains Health System, but Pennsylvania American Water took some precautions with the gas project underway and already had a tanker on standby ready to go there.

Hospital officials said patient care here wasn't disrupted.

Businesses affected tried to keep customers from being affected, too.

"I gotta stick it in there, clean it, then dip it in that."

Dishwashing got a little complicated at Emberz Restaurant. They saved up what little water they could get.

"This gets annoying after a while, that's for sure," said Brad O'Brien at Emberz.

The place tried to stay open as long as it could.

"We try our best, yes we do, so far so good," added Shiloe Benedict.

Pennsylvania American Water told us the main was repaired and service was starting to be restored just before 5 p.m. Thursday.


  • Robert Hasty

    That’s no excuse, if that were another natural gas pipeline they drilled into people would have been killed. Proper locating of the lines even if they needed to be hand dug could have avoided this mess. The equipment used to directional drill these two lines where the water lines were struck looked extremely outdated and unsafe. Makes me wonder how experienced and trained the crew doing the job is and I’m sure that played a factor into the accident as well and what will this ultimately cost the gas company for using cheap untrained labor? stay tuned, probably a few more stories like this to come but let’s hope it’s not a gas line they hit next time.

    • Green Hope

      If they don’t leave you without drinkable water from the gas production process at the well, they seem to find another way to do so! “Safe”, “Clean”, “Natural” gas!

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