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Burst pipes send water in the air stripping powerlines in Swallowfield community

Published:Wednesday | September 23, 2015 | 7:03 PM

There were dramatic scenes in the Swallowfield community in St Andrew yesterday after breaks in the National Water Commission (NWC) Stanton Terrace pipeline sent water shooting into the air, breaking away the roadway and stripping power lines.

Close by on Roosevelt Avenue, water could be seen flowing along the roadway with both drawing several onlookers.

The NWC's corporate public relations manager, Charles Buchanan, told The Gleaner that situations such as these were unavoidable.

"Leaks will occur on water supply networks. The only time that it is absolutely guaranteed that leaks will not occur is when you don't have any water," Buchanan said.

"In a situation of drought where your system is operating under very abnormal conditions with widely fluctuating pressure levels in different segments of the network, you are going to have these instances, but the alternative is that most of the areas would be without water, because you simply won't do anything to ensure that the water get to them."

Buchanan further pointed out that the Stanton Terrace pipeline segment was one of those in the Corporate Area that was in need of urgent attention based on the frequency of breaks and the amount of leakage that takes place on the line. It is one of the older pipelines, he said.

It runs from the Mona Reservoir which is at 21 per cent (147 million gallons) of its 700 million gallons capacity, which Buchanan conceded is a "critically low level".