Centro water main, broken since 1998, finally getting fixed

Water won't flow in some areas as workers correct botched attempt to plug the leak

File photo / Sipse
File photo / Sipse

Merida, Yucatan — A persistent water leak in a Centro water main is finally being fixed after 21 years.

The broken underground pipe supplies water to 42 Sur, San Sebastian, Garcia Gineres and Jesus Carranza. Water service will be lost or reduced in these neighborhoods between Wednesday and Friday.

Moreover, traffic will be diverted at the work site Calle 64 between 35 and 37 starting 11 p.m. today (Tuesday), until late Friday.

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Workers are uncovering a 36-inch pipe that was accidentally punctured in 1998 during a storm drain project, according to a statement from Japay, the water utility.

Previous administrations kicked the can down the road because the repair is complex and costly. That’s because the underground pipe is encapsulated in a 21-cubic-meter concrete block, which was poured in an earlier attempt to cheaply solve the problem.

Over 2 million liters of water has been leaking every day, said Sergio Augusto Chan Lugo, of Japay. That would be enough to serve 13,800 customers, he said.

The present administration has repaired three other leaks nearby, but the job was routine because the pipe wasn’t covered in concrete, said Chan Lugo.

Workers will use a custom-built 310,000-peso cast-iron clamp to seal the pipe while repairs are under way.

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Drilling and prep work will begin 5 a.m. Wednesday, and the nearest water plant will shut down late Thursday until early Friday.

Source: Press release

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