By Ted Scouten

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Another sewer main has sprung a leak in Fort Lauderdale.

City officials said the break occurred in the 1600 block of NE 5th Street in the upscale neighborhood of Victoria Park.

“It stinks, it’s nasty, it’s horrible,” said area resident Bari Wiggins.

She said when she woke up this morning, she found a nasty mess outside her home.

“I came out with the dogs and could barely walk them because the water, or whatever you want to call it, was up to here in sewage,” she said.

“Oh, it was disgusting. It’s just poop water everywhere. Yeah, it smelled horrible,” said Joe Mancino.

Mancino said he woke to the stench of raw sewage filling their street on NE 5th at 16th avenue.

“I just kinda got up this morning and there was just like tons of standing water, up there, on the sidewalk, it was pretty gross,” he said.

Edgar Ortizano did what he could get rid of the gray sludge that was left behind on his driveway. He said the smell was overwhelming.

“It was very disgusting. I went inside my and I started to (mimics gagging motion) and the fireman asked I was okay. I said the smell was intense,” he said.

“The smell is really bad. It’s a beautiful day, we couldn’t have the windows open, the doors open. We had to keep everything closed up,” said Tiffany Howard.

Crews were able to stop the flow of the raw sewage on the street by adjusting pump stations.

“Crews responded immediately and were able to shut down some pump stations in the area. That enabled them to isolate the break, which means no more sewage is running through the damaged portion of the pipe. As a result, no more discharge is going into the streets,” said city spokesman Chaz Adams.

With the flow stopped, utility workers are able to repair the pipe to get the sewage moving again to the treatment plant. Now the focus is clean up.

This is the fourth sewer line break in the city in the last couple of weeks.

The city’s sewage problems began December 10th in the upscale Rio Visita neighborhood when a 54 in main broke, sending untreated sewage through the neighborhood and into the river. A second break on the same pipe made it even worse.

On Thursday the city said a bypass line that was installed is functioning properly.

The Rio Vista breaks were followed by another break, a 48-inch pipe on the same line under the Himmarshee Canal.

Wednesday night a custom valve device was installed on broken submerged sewer main. If the seal holds, divers will apply special concrete around the valve device to permanently secure it in place.

The pipes that have experienced the breaks need replacing, according to Fort Lauderdale City Manager Chris Lagerbloom, as do a lot of other aging sewage pipes.

“The pipes we’re experiencing with the breaks now date back to the late 60’s early 70’s. They’re iron pipes,” he said.

Lagerbloom said nearly $200 million is being spent right now on fixing the city’s old sewage system with more money coming in a few years. He called it a priority.

“The fact that we’ve had these breaks in the short proximity of time is going to cause us to move fast and you’re going to see us move faster than we’ve ever moved getting new pipes into the ground,” he said.

Ted Scouten

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