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Water Main Break Causes Disruptions Near Etna, Aspinwall

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

John Shumway John Shumway
John Shumway joined NewsRadio 1020 KDKA in 2004 as co-host of The KDKA...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A 60-inch water line broke Friday afternoon in Sharpsburg, causing problems in areas near Etna and Aspinwall.

The break was discovered around 11 a.m.

The water main runs along the Allegheny Valley Railroad track near Route 8 and State Route 28 meet, according to the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

The break created an impromptu waterfall as water cascaded into Pine Creek.

“It’s a 60-inch water line,” said Pittsburgh Director of Operations Guy Costa. “It’s a city water line that’s in the Borough of Sharpsburg.”

“[It’s a] 60-inch, steel-riveted main… that supplies half the water to Downtown and the North Side,” said Tom Palmosina, the PWSA director of operations.

But it was the area upstream from the break that suffered the most.

“That leak is causing problems for St. Margaret’s Hospital, as well as the Borough of Aspinwall and the Water Works Mall,” said Palmosina.

“The espresso machine was not getting any flow, then there was no coffee and we couldn’t flush the toilets, and I knew we had a problem,” said Anthony Venturino, the general manager of the Panera in the Water Works.

Venturino had no choice but to close the restaurant, so did Burgatory and Chili’s.

As for the city, Palmosina there’s water for a few days.

“The city end, my reservoir is full, so I’m fine here,” he said. “I probably have enough water for a couple of days.”

When you’re trying to shut down a water main that some people could walk through standing up, it takes a while.

“It ended up being about an hour and a half we were closed for,” said Venturino. “Lunch, it was not a good time to close.”

But when the valves were closed, pressure quickly returned to normal.

“We cleaned the restrooms, brewed some fresh coffee, and opened the doors.”

St. Margaret Hospital says it experienced low water pressure for a brief time, but it didn’t affect overall operations. Full water pressure has since been restored. However, the hospital is under a boil water advisory for the time being and is supplying hand sanitizer.

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