HEAT ALERT

Temps will be even hotter Friday in New Jersey as highs approach 100 degrees

Behind the scenes look at massive effort to repair water main in Newark

News 12's Brian Donohue got a behind the scenes look at the repairs that are being made following a water main break.

News 12 Staff

Aug 19, 2022, 11:02 PM

Updated 670 days ago

Share:

There's a massive effort underway to repair a water main that is part of Newark's water system, which was built in the late 1800s.
News 12's Brian Donohue got a behind the scenes look at the repairs that are being made following a water main break.
Luis Barahona, of Newark, is in the mud 15 feet under Branch Brook Park sawing a metal nub off a 36-inch water main that was laid down here when Grover Cleveland was president. Newark resident Jose Periera is sawing a section of this newly made replacement pipe to make sure it fits into that section made in 1887. Periera's boss is fellow Newark resident Pedro Lousado who is pondering the problem that these gaskets have to hold the whole thing together. The gaskets provided by the Passaic Valley Sewage Authority are 5 mm too wide.
Even though that sounds like nothing for a pipe this huge, it is part of a system that pumps millions of gallons a day. Residents know all too well that a few millimeters can mean disaster. That's what struck at the spot two weeks ago when the water main broke on one of the hottest days of the year, turning the road into a river and causing thousands of Newark residents to go without water for a day.
The repair job on the section of an ancient system shows it's not unlike fixing the plumbing in an old house when suddenly you realize a part doesn't fit and you have to run to Home Depot. Everything is far bigger -- the pipes, the expense and of course the stakes.
The Newark Water Department is using the opportunity created by this break to put a new valve that can make it easier to divert the flow if there happens to be another incident downstream someday.
Everyone involved is hoping that the new section of pipe will last even longer than 135 years.
The city will soon be seeking bids for a new project that would replace 15,000 feet of water mains every year.


More from News 12