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Bozrah —A break in a century-old, 30-inch cast iron water main Tuesday morning disrupted water service to more than 200 Bozrah customers of Norwich Public Utilities, including a nursing home and several of the town’s larger businesses.
The break occurred at 9:20 a.m. in the main artery that runs along Fitchville Road/Route 608 from the Deep Water Reservoir in Lebanon into Norwich, NPU General Manager John Bilda said.
To repair the break, more than two dozen NPU crews and hired contractors worked to remove the 6-foot long damaged section and replace it with a new section of pipe. The work was expected to be completed by midnight, NPU spokesman Chris Riley said.
Riley said 229 NPU water customers, all in Bozrah, were without water service for much of Tuesday. NPU restored water to approximately 80 customers north of Route 2 near Exit 23 Tuesday afternoon. The remaining 149 customers were expected to have water service restored by midnight, he said.
Once water service is restored, customers experiencing a slight discoloration of their water should turn on the cold water tap and allow the water to run until it is clear, about five to 10 minutes. If the problem persists, customers can contact NPU at (860) 887-2555 and a technician will be dispatched.
NPU provided bottled water to all residents and businesses affected by the break, distributing bottles and cases of water to residents at the Bozrah town garage, 229 Fitchville Road through late Tuesday evening. NPU brought water directly to larger customers, including the UPS facility, the Fitchville Home nursing home and TVCCA’s Meals on Wheels commissary.
The utility brought a tanker truck of water to Airgas compressed gas plant, which uses large amounts of water for cooling.
Bozrah First Selectman Bill Ballinger spent much of Tuesday surveying the damage and visiting businesses affected by the water loss. Town Hall also was without water service, but remained open, Ballinger said.
Ballinger said NPU responded quickly to the break, leaving very little damage to the road and nearby properties.
Fitchville Road was closed in the vicinity of the break near the Exit 24 ramp off Route 2. Ballinger said the state is repaving the section of Fitchville Road where the break occurred, but Bilda said NPU is still investigating the cause of the break and it is unknown at this time whether the road work contributed to the large gash in the pipe.
Bilda said the pipe is frequently tested and had been in very good condition.
To offset the loss of water from the Deep River Reservoir, Bilda said the Stony Brook Reservoir was upgraded from back-up status to full capacity, and NPU also activated an emergency standby well in Norwichtown.
The city’s several water towers also are providing water.
NPU asked customers not affected by the water main break to conserve water as much as possible to ease the demand.