Pinellas County restores water, rescinds boil water notice

Residents, business owners are breathing a sigh of relief

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA)  – There shouldn’t be any more water woes for Tierra Verde and St. Pete Beach residents and businesses. Pinellas County officials say full water service should be restored by the end of Tuesday.

Officials issued a boil alert Saturday night after a 16-inch main that feeds those communities ruptured.  Around 6,000 customers were affected.

Pinellas water pipe break

Kevin Beccotte is the county’s director of engineering. Initially, he estimated it would take several weeks to come up with a plan to fix the issue. “We try to be realistic, and you know, we thought that it would take a lot longer to make the repair,” Beccotte said. “We were able to take a step back yesterday and took a look at what was going on out there and took a look at some of the plans that we have and found a solution that we’re in the process of implementing today.”

In layman’s terms, crews are installing a valve on the south side of the water main break. Once installed, that valve will be closed, allowing the county to back feed the water system, restoring full service to all customers. The broken pipe will be replaced at a later date.

Nina Crawford lives on Blind Pass Road and was without water for hours over the weekend. She was using pool water to flush her toilets, as were her neighbors.

Crawford praises the county’s quick response. “The crew worked diligently digging up our neighbor’s yard. I’m happy it wasn’t mine. I’m just very happy that they did it when they did because it’s very difficult being without water,” Crawford said. “One doesn’t realize it until one loses it.”

Ruthie Buxbaum is also thrilled to have her water back. She owns Chill, a restaurant and bar downtown. The establishment was forced to close on Saturday because of the water main break.

On Sunday, Buxbaum was back open, but serving dishes on plastic plates because workers had no safe way of washing dishes. When the water was restored, she and her employees had a little party of sorts.

“We were flushing toilets like crazy, running water all over the place, jumping around – a little water dance party,” Buxbaum said.

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