EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 25, 2013

Hotel water line break churns up more problems

Creates water disruptions, discoloration for residents

By Dustin Luca

---- — ANDOVER — A blown-off pipe fitting within a popular hotel early yesterday morning resulted in more water trouble in parts of town, further exacerbating more than a week of dirty water pouring out of local taps.

The Wyndham Hotel on Old River Road faced a day of headaches and hard work after a fitting on a 6-inch water pipe gave way in the hotel’s utility room at 3:30 a.m. yesterday, causing “catastrophic damage” to the first floor and resulting in a massive disruption to the town’s water system, according to Chris Cronin, acting director of the Department of Public Works.

A private water line off of the town’s water supply that feeds the hotel was quickly cut off, but not before the event flooded most of Wyndham’s first floor, Don Corbosiero, general manager of the facility, said.

The eruption left the 432 guests at Wyndham, which was at capacity, without running water or usable bathrooms for the morning, Corbosiero said. The hotel distributed bottles of water and had portable toilets delivered to accommodate guests until the water was flowing by 12:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, the problem sparked further water discoloration in west Andover, at a time when high flow from the summer’s peak demand season already has been churning up sediment in pipes and creating brown water conditions for residents, Cronin said.

“It gave us an awful lot of dirty water in an area we had discoloration in recently,” he said. “The discoloration because of this event was far worse. It was more catastrophic, so to speak.”

Town crews worked throughout the day clearing up dirty water trouble spots wherever they cropped up, Cronin said.

“Some of the feedback I’m getting is that some of the folks had discolored water from the high usage, so I don’t know what’s one event and what’s the other,” he said. “We’re continuing to work in that area to make sure they have clear water. We apologize that they’re having problems, and we’re looking for additional causes.”

Cronin said blowouts to fittings like the one experienced by Wyndham are “not unique.” But they often occur unnoticed because they’re usually underground, he said.

Since the break occurred in the middle of the night, disruption to hotel guests, many of whom were asleep at the time, was kept to a minimum, Corbosiero said.

By around 12:30 p.m., a temporary repair had the water flowing at the hotel again — though the ballroom remained closed and it was some time before cleaning crews could fully address the damage to the first floor, Corbosiero said.

Cronin said he expected a permanent repair would be made by early Friday morning.

How much the event hits Wyndham in the wallet isn’t yet known, according to Corbosiero.

But as the hotel works to dry itself out, Corbosiero extended a high level of thanks to the community.

“I was very impressed with Andover’s various departments, from the fire department to the building inspector, the water department and the health department,” he said. “They were here immediately and just awesome to work with.”