Roughly 30 customers were affected by a disruption of service after a water main traveling from Mobile to Spanish Fort broke on New Year’s Day. An official with the Spanish Fort Water System reported that as of Jan. 9 a temporary fix had been put in place and everything was back to normal, while the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System looks for a permanent solution.
Terry Evans, superintendent of the SFWS, praised MAWSS’ quick response to the problem, as the break near the boat landing on the causeway on the west side of Interstate 10 was reported about 3 a.m. Jan. 1.
Those affected, which included a number of restaurants, experienced the disruption for less than 24 hours, Evans said, as the entities found a temporary solution. He said SFWS installed a device that day to allow them to feed water in the opposite direction through a bypass back toward the causeway.
Since, MAWSS has been at work to temporarily replace about 8,000 feet of pipe in the area. Evans said that fix was officially brought online at 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9.
Finding a permanent solution, though, is crucial as Spanish Fort relies on MAWSS to provide water to a growing customer base. Evans said in the 28 years he’s been with the system, Spanish Fort has grown from 763 customers to 3,377. MAWSS supplies Spanish Fort with more than half of its water, Evans said.
The board could look at several options to permanently fix the issue with the high-density polyethylene pipe, MAWSS Assistant Director Doug Cote said. Following a similar break last year on the causeway, Cote said the board could elect to get bids to replace the single pipe with iron ductile pipe.
Another option would be to look at all five places where the pipe is underwater and bid for replacement, as there could be some savings through an economy of scale, Cote said. A third option would be to look at the five locations and increase the size of the piping to 24 inches. A fourth option could be to increase the line capacity on a conventional iron ductile line on the western end of the causeway.