NEWPORT NEWS – HRSD suffered a major line break of a primary force main on 16th Street in Newport News on Monday, January 4. This 36-inch force main carries wastewater to the Boat Harbor Treatment Plant and is part of a 2-mile, $16 million pipe replacement Capital Improvement project (BHO15600) that is currently underway.
With no way to capture and send this wastewater flow to the treatment plant, crews completed a connection to the Claremont Pump Station on Chesapeake Avenue to divert wastewater flows away from the homes and businesses along 16th Street and send it into the waterway until the repair can be completed. Diverting untreated wastewater into local waterways is a last resort when there are no other alternatives. Fortunately, the diversion at the Claremont Pump Station is into the Hampton Roads, a very large body of water with hundreds of trillions of gallons of water flushed in and out with the daily tidal cycle. Sampling during past events has shown nature can restore the water to pre-spill conditions rapidly after a very rare and short duration spill. The Virginia Department of Health has issued an emergency closure to shell fishing in this area.
Crews are performing closed-circuit television (CCTV) work today to inspect and assess the extent of damage to the pipe. Preliminary inspections reveal interior corrosion as the cause of the line break. An estimated time for repair will not be available until crews can assess how much of the pipe will need to be replaced.
Residents and motorists should continue to avoid the area and follow signed detours around the spill area.
Crews continue working around the clock to make repairs to the line and begin cleanup efforts to area roadways, yards and other areas affected by this spill. Residents can expect extensive construction activity and a long-term lane closure within the affected area as pipe repairs get underway.
Should you have any questions or comments, you may contact:
Leila Rice, APR – 757.460.7056
Director of Communications