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Water Pipe Break Causes Trouble in Burlington

People wait for water to return in Burlington as public works races to fix the problems.

BURLINGTON - Time seems to move slower when some of life’s most basic needs are taken away. Just ask Scott Lavalla.

“It's been almost two days, two whole nights so it's been a little rough,” Lavalla said.

After a pipe leading to the sprinkler system at Dealer.com broke, Burlington Public Works was forced to turn the water off for a block of Pine Street. Lavalla had to adapt just to use the bathroom.

“We’ve been filling up a bucket with snow and letting it melt and then dumping it in the back of the toilet so we can at least flush,” Lavalla said.

It's also been rough for the repair crew. It took them nearly a day and a half to fix the pipe and turn the water back on.

Public works crews haven't just been stuck on the Pine Street site. Wednesday they also repaired breaks on Main Street and a valve that broke on Howard Street.

According to public works assistant director Laurie Adams the weather is the reason.

“The ground starts to shift, the frost goes deeper,” Adams said.

“Things move and if you have a vulnerable spot that's where the break is.”

Since some pipes date back to 1890 vulnerability is a inevitable. But Adams says they don't just fix problems when they bubble to the surface.

“When we're not in the winter mode we're out replacing stretches of pipe that we know might be susceptible to a bad history,” Adams said.

The equipment budget for those projects is $200,000 dollars a year. Adams says she would like to see that number double or even triple eventually to help upgrade other parts of the system.

“In the future we will want to put out a more robust program but right now it isn't like one year we make planned repairs and another year we don't. Every year we make repairs,” Adams said.

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