Locals Put Heat On Frozen Pipe Snafu
By John McLoughlin
Residents of the 200 block of Beach 138 street and the 400 block of Beach 127 street were without water for more than a week due to frozen water mains until the city responded with a crew from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Saturday, February 5.
In early 1992 new storm sewers were placed on several blocks throughout Belle Harbor. Some house water mains were disconnected by construction crews for the purpose of installing the new storm sewers, but failed to reconnect the mains at the proper depth to prevent freezing. Normal depth for water main pipes would be 36-48 inches below street level, but the pipes on Beach 127 and Beach 138 streets are 9-16 inches below.
Under the recent weather conditions, if the occupant of a home does not run water for a number of days the pipes could freeze.
A home without water was what Brian Davan of Beach 127 street faced when his family returned from a couple days away. After talking to neighbors, he realized that he was not alone. Having dealt with this matter four times in the past eight winters since he has lived on the block, Davan decided to make calls to local officials and city agencies. Davan said all his calls led to "dead ends" until he contacted Democratic District Leader Lew Simon. Referring to Simon as a "bulldog" on this matter, Davan said calls were made and within a few days a DEP crew responded.
DEP immediately exposed the pipes and defrosted the water mains using a blowtorch. Within a matter of hours water was restored, to the pleasure of many residents.
According to a DEP spokesperson, the agency plans to "install new water mains in the future." A targeted date is fall 2000, with the DEP saying "definitely by next winter."