FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A water main break that affected 6 Broward cities and left a quarter million people with the possibility of no water for Christmas was fixed late Saturday night, but while water service was reestored those affected have been told to boil it until further notice, just to be safe.

The Ft. Lauderdale Department of Public Works said the 42-inch main ruptured shortly after 8 p.m. Christmas Eve. The break caused a residents of portions of Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Pompano Beach, Tamarac, Lauderdale-by-the Sea, and the City of Ft. Lauderdale to either completely lose water service or suffer under reduced pressure.

The area affected covered approximately 250 thousand people, according to the public works department. At first, city officials had warned people in the areas served by the main that they could face Christmas without water service, but by 11:30 Christmas Eve, crews had diverted the water to other lines, around the break, and restored service.

The city imposed the boil water on any water intended for human consumption, including cooking, brushing teeth, and drinking. City spokesperson Matt Little could not say when the order might be lifted, as it must first pass tests for safety.

The advisory, issued  with the Broward Health Department, covers all water customers in Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Oakland Park, Port Everglades Authority, Village of Sea Ranch Lakes, Wilton Manors and sections of Davie and Tamarac.

The outage  caused a huge number of 9-1-1 calls in Broward, and BSO asked people not to call the emergency line unless there is a true emergency.

Some residents complained that they could not reach City of Fort Lauderdale numbers published for the reporting of water problems.

One customers commented on CBSMiami.com, “I started calling shortly after the water pressure dropped and got a busy signal for the next 2 hours – I found out about the break from friends in the area via Facebook.”

“The city needs to find a better solution than relying solely on their office phone system to handle a situation like this, leaving most callers with nothing more than a busy signal.”

Comments (13)
  1. Ryan says:

    The number that the City of Ft. Lauderdale gives out for this is 954-828-8000. I started calling shortly after the water pressure dropped and got a busy signal for the next 2 hours – I found out about the break from friends in the area via Facebook.

    The city needs to find a better solution than relying solely on their office phone system to handle a situation like this, leaving most callers with nothing more than a busy signal. They should take a lesson from FPL’s outage response center.

  2. Peter Zimmer says:

    So, here it is 7 AM, Dec. 25, 11 hours after the water main break, and this is all the info available, which is 7-hours old! There’s no local news on TV (Wake up Channels 6 and 10!) or Gov’t Website to go to for an update or to tell people what they should/should not do during THIS crisis. This shows what a back-water Fort Lauderdale is, and how useless all the blow-hards in local (and State?) government are as well. Imagine if we had even a minor tropical storm or Cat. 1 hurricane. People, you are on your own. Stock up now for the next crisis. Everyone from Seiler up to Scott will not be around to offer ideas or assistance. I’m on the 27 floor of a condo, but have about 25 gallons of bottled water stocked up. So should you.

    1. Carol says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more if I tried and if you don’t pay your taxes they come after you but they could care less about you when something like this happens because they have their money and that is all that is important.

  3. Dan says:

    This was on sun-sentinel web site at 11:43 last night. And if you go to the city web site you can subscribe to email notifications on outages.

    1. Jake says:

      What if you don’t have the internet? There are plenty of people who do not, and will not be computer savvy to take advantage of such limited alert tools. Plenty of elderly people, who also deserve to be told, and especially need to know not to drink water for x hours/days are to be ignored? Obviously officials are only concerned about the welfare of themselves, and leave it up to the people to telepathically pick up on disasters. In the old days, before people got, computer-arrogant, such a water break would lead to a knock on the door and a paper notice on the door. That was when life was valued more, but now it is ‘figure it out yourself’ and ‘oh well’ if you did not.

  4. Larry says:

    The information provided is useless unless a map of the affected area is provided. To simply list “parts of Davie” does absolutely nothing to advise my if my water is affected. Also, it’s now past 8 AM on Dec. 25th and the Ft. Lauderdale Utilities number is running regular on-hold messages about city affairs. NOTHING about the boil water order!

  5. Carol says:

    This is where all cities all over the USA needs the money to update and fix such things so this wouldn’t happen but the sad thing there is no money to be had and there will be more stress and strain with the populations going up and up.

    I remember many many years ago I met a man at night school and he worked for the state when it came to such things water and sewer and he told me then that if all of us understood what we drove over everyday we wouldn’t drive on the roads and now I see what he was speaking about.

  6. J says:

    would be nice if reporters would follow up on this and do a screen-crawl to let us know if it is still in effect or has been lifted

    1. J says:

      it’s been over 24 hours and the website still isn’t updated….I guess a quarter of a MILLION people don’t matter

  7. Nadia says:

    There’s still no good water yet at 2pm Dec 25, 2011.

  8. t says:

    I find it truly amazing that they will break into regular TV for things like verdicts in trials that do not affect me directly, however I am also still trying to find out if we are still under a boil water order. Someone needs to get priorities straightened out .

  9. David E. Schuman says:

    Get used to it, the infrastructure of the United States will cointinue to fail, it’s old and worn out, can’t handle the load and we refuse to upgrade it. Costs too much…..

  10. MGB says:

    Today the 26th of December and no information has been received for the use of municipal water to be used without boiling. Please respond.

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