One day after lifting a “boil water” public health advisory, the Erie County Water Authority on Sunday reported 12 separate water main breaks in parts of Amherst, Depew, Hamburg, West Seneca, Lackawanna and Lancaster.
The breaks reported Sunday morning are unrelated to the major break last week, an authority spokesman said.
“These are just routine water breaks; the problem is that there are so many. But these are all unique breaks across the towns and villages listed,” said Sean Dwyer. “It's not at all connected to the widespread outage a few days ago.”
He said Sunday's outages should be temporary and there should be no concerns about using the water.
“The difference between the two breaks is that the last one was one major break. This is several smaller breaks spread out across several regions,” he said.
The authority said residents in the affected areas could experience discolored water, low water pressure or no water at all.
Dwyer said at this point it remains unclear what caused the breaks, but he noted that overuse of water, the heat or the aging infrastructure could be factors that led to the most recent breaks.
Crews are at work, and the authority hoped to have service restored later Sunday, with everyone back online by midnight. Subcontractors have been called in to help what is being called an “uncommon occurrence” of multiple breaks.
“Crews are working as fast as they can, turning off water to reroute the system,” Dwyer said.
He said fire hydrants should not be affected because they are able to reroute water.
A listing of the specific streets affected by Sunday's breaks and updates are available online at www.ecwa.org or by calling 684-0900.
Dwyer said obviously it's in the public's mind that Sunday's break is connected to this past week's water outage, but “it's just bad timing.”
The authority reiterated that the advisory prompted by Wednesday's massive water main break has been lifted.