NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) _ Officials say the city narrowly avoided disaster following a water main break that threatened the water supply of thousands of residents.
Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio declared a state of emergency Thursday morning after officials discovered they had a leak in one of several transmission lines that feed the city’s water system.
New London Public Utilities Director Joseph Lanzafame said officials had been losing a foot of water each hour from storage tanks before they found and mostly contained the leak in the 50-year-old pipe.
“It would have been a very big disaster. It would have taken us months to recover,” he said.
Crews were putting a bladder in the 20-inch pipe to stop the leak while repairs were being done.
Residents were evacuated for a short time from an apartment building near the leak, where a small pond had formed. They were back in their homes Thursday evening, but were told not to drink water from their taps.
Finizio said valves around the leak were shut off to prevent the problem from affecting water pressure in other parts of the city.
He said the city activated its water reserves and was able to tap into Groton’s water supply while responding to the leak.
Gov. Dannel Malloy also activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center and the state sent more than 1,100 meals ready to eat and more than 1,400 one-liter bottles of water in case they were needed.