UPDATE: Divers to Assess Damaged HRSD Force Main at Great Bridge Lock in Chesapeake



CHESAPEAKE - HRSD contractors will be onsite at the Great Bridge Lock Wednesday, March 22 beginning at 7:00 a.m., and will deploy divers at 9:00 a.m. to assess the condition of the 20-inch cast iron force main that suffered damage after being struck by a dredge 'spud' (a large stake used by a dredge to pinion or anchor it into place) on Friday, March 11. Damage to the pipe resulted in the discharge of approximately 2.5 million gallons of wastewater into the canal at the Great Bridge Lock.

What can motorists and residents expect to see?

All staging activity will occur on the north side of the Waterway on Locks Lane. The contractor will also set up an air compressor on the south side of the waterway which will be connected to an air vent on the north shore to blow air into the broken line that they hope will provide a trail of bubbles for the divers to help them more easily locate the section of broken pipe. (Air vents are placed in sanitary sewer pipelines to prevent air pockets or vacuum conditions which can cause loss of efficiency and pipe corrosion).

There will also be a dive platform in the water that will be tethered to the north bulkhead and should not impact marine traffic through the area. Divers are prepared to take pictures, video and GPS coordinates of what they discover.

None of the activity associated with this work will impact vehicular or marine traffic travel in the area.

This initial assessment into the extent of damage to the HRSD pipeline is necessary to developing the best approach for repair, carefully considering the long-term sustainability of the infrastructure. The valves to this force main will remain closed until a permanent repair is put into place.

The Virginia Department of Health continues to advise residents to postpone plans to fish or recreate in the water. For more health and water safety information as well as water sampling data, please visit Virginia Department of Environmental Quality website established specifically for this incident.



Should you have any questions or comments, you may contact:

Media Contact:

Leila Rice, APR – 757.460.7056
Director of Communications