WATERTOWN, N.Y. (NCC NEWS)– The city of Watertown was without clean water for multiple days last week when a water main broke, prompting a swift response from local leaders. City councilwoman Sarah Pierce described the reaction as frantic, saying “I was down there helping hand out the water to people, and the line just didn’t stop coming.”
The emergency also caused concern at the Watertown Fire Department. Fire chief Matthew Timerman said that after the immediate response to the break, his crew had a realization of the further danger it could cause- ““Then the problem began… with a total loss of our distribution systems and fire hydrants, how are we going to protect the city?” said Timerman.
Both leaders are advising other communities in the surrounding area to be better prepared. Timerman suggests that communities make large diameter hoses available to their fire departments, while Pierce harped on infrastructure checks for all of Central New York and the North Country. “The message to other communities would be if you have infrastructure that’s in need of repair or in need of upgrades, it’s important to prioritize those investments,” said Pierce.
Pierce also addressed the city’s recent infrastructure spending, saying “There’s a current council majority that spent quite a bit of money on infrastructure in the past year, 8 million dollars on a golf course and pool. Those aren’t things that the majority of a community can use. What are things the majority of a community can use? Clean drinking water.”
The main concern in other places is the age of the water infrastructure. Pierce pointed out that Watertown’s was particularly old, saying “A big problem for this city and other municipalities I’m sure is the age of infrastructure. We have infrastructure under our ground where in some cases these pipes are 40, 50, 60, 70 years old.”
Timerman and Pierce both thanked the quick response of the town, state, and federal officials that helped control the damage and fix the water filtration system in less than three days.