Water main break ‘mystery’ keeps Melbourne (briefly) in suspense

It’s rare to have a “mystery” break of a main Melbourne Utilities water line because the thousands of gallons of water have to go somewhere, and usually can be easily spotted as a gushing fountain or growing sink hole.

Yet, that was the puzzler the morning of Jan. 3 for hours after the initial report, causing Melbourne officials to send out a mid-day appeal for anyone who could help locate the sizable leak cutting service from Desoto Parkway north to Pineda Causeway down to a trickle for more than eight hours.

The call that the mystery was solved – a 12-inch water main had broken and was leaking into a storm drain and canal – came in just after 1 p.m. to Satellite Beach Public Works Director Allen Potter.

“We knew it was a big line – eight or 12 inches – but they didn’t know where it was. Finally a homeowner on the canal called it in that he saw something unusual. If he hadn’t noticed, it could have gone on much longer,’’ Potter said.

Crews isolated the broken pipe alongside South Patrick Drive just north of Jackson Avenue/Jackson Court, by 4 p.m. and began the extensive repairs. In the meantime, water pressure dropped below the threshold that triggered a precautionary boil-water advisory to comply with state environmental regulations, until two rounds of tests, 24 hours apart, came back clean. The boil-water notifications – except for a few addresses near the repair site – were lifted at 5:52 p.m. Saturday.

Melbourne supplies drinking water to 170,000 customers living in Melbourne, West Melbourne, Melbourne Beach, Indialantic, Indian Harbour Beach, Satellite Beach, Palm Shores, Melbourne Village and adjacent unincorporated areas.

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