Lightning strike causes Daphne water main break - FOX10 News | WALA

Lightning strike causes Daphne water main break

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A Daphne water main break was caused by a lightning strike. A Daphne water main break was caused by a lightning strike.

An afternoon thunderstorm in Malbis caused some real problems for residents and businesses there Thursday, August 10, 2017.  A 10 inch water main was struck by lightning, rupturing it.  More than a million gallons of water drained from storage tanks leaving customers without water.  It was restored within a few hours, but utilities crews continued to flush the system Friday.

Daphne Utilities crews continued to flush water mains Friday, August 11, 2017 in the Malbis area.  They’ve been working on restoring service since 4:00 p.m. Thursday when lightning struck a water main servicing a huge business district and many residences.

“We didn’t realize exactly how it happened until this morning when we were able to come out here in the daylight and we can see that there’s a tree about 20 feet away that was struck by lightning, traveled down the tree and into the root system which is very near a pipeline that we have,” explained Danny Lyndall, General Manager of Daphne Utilities.

The bolt blew the pipe which is buried six feet underground, scattering pieces of to up to 50 feet away.  Another section, 80 yards away was also broken.  More than a million gallons of water drained from two storage tanks, leaving customers without water.  While Daphne Utilities was trying to fix the problem, its customers, like Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant were caught by surprise.

“We were out of water for I want to say like three hours and maybe a little bit more over three hours so and when we did finally get water, we got it for like 10 minutes and then we were out of it for like another hour,” said Don Carlos Assistant Manager, Bobby Martinez.

Several restaurants in Malbis and the Eastern Shore Centre had the same problems.  Utilities officials were able to bypass the break and return service, but pressure was low and lines needed to be flushed.  More than 12 hours after service was restored, some customers were still having issues with brown colored water.

“We’re still responding to a few…a handful of water quality complaints scattered throughout the area and our folks have been out since five o’clock this morning flushing the water mains,” Lyndall said.

If you live in the Malbis area and are still seeing some discoloration in your water, call Daphne Utilities and let them know.  One thing you can is to flush the water from the pipes in your home.  Do this by turning on an outside faucet and let it run for several minutes.  

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