Official: Methuen used 9M gallons of water Sunday

Courtesy photo Officials say high water usage in Methuen during the heat wave was the cause of a water main break Sunday night that caused road closures and delayed water service to 70 homes. 

METHUEN — It was a scorching weekend made bearable by swimming pools, sprinklers and cool showers.

Methuen residents proved that Sunday, when they used 9 million gallons of water and caused part of the old system that pipes it to collapse.

Typical usage is about 4.5 million gallons of water across the city in a single day, according to acting Public Works Director and longtime Water Superintendent Daryl Laurenza. 

Temperatures hovering near 93 degrees and 76% humidity during the weekend led to the huge increase in water usage, about doubling the normal amount .

A meteorologist with the National Weather Service said it felt more like 98 degrees in Lawrence on Sunday, only adding to the urgency for relief. 

The burst happened on East Street at 4 p.m. Sunday, police Chief Joseph Solomon said.

It impacted 70 homes and caused several roads in the area to be closed.

Residents were left with a trickling supply of water. Some homes were dry for several hours, he said.

Shortly after the road filled with water, city workers dug up the buckled pavement to get to the broken 8-inch pipe underneath.

They replaced 10 inches of the pipe and had water back in the system and into homes by 2 a.m., Laurenza said.

He said 450,000 gallons of water were lost during the process.

"The road was back open at 7 a.m.," Laurenza said. "Like we were never there."

Problems like this happen periodically, he explained, when residents are consuming more water.

"Everyone's irrigating, filling pools," he said.

He advises people to be vigilant about shutting off water when they can.

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