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City water work project complete

Submitted photo A Dunkirk Department of Public Works crew works on a water main. The DPW recently installed 12 isolation valves around the city, to keep main breaks from compromising the entire system.

Dunkirk has completed installation of water main isolation valves, authorized after a rupture shut the flow off to the entire city.

According to Department of Public Works Director Randy Woodbury, the valves have already averted some more major problems. Woodbury offered a report on the issue to the city Common Council earlier this month.

“Most recently, a hydrant and its old shut-off valve were found to be bad on Willowbrook Avenue, and the repair required a shut of the city 20-inch main artery on Brigham (Road) from Willowbrook southerly and then easterly on Willowbrook to Swan (Street),” he said in the report. “Without the new isolation valves, this may have required an entire citywide shutdown, but the new valves worked so well that the water maintenance crew… scheduled a shutdown with notice for last Sunday morning (as recommended by the steel plants) and work was completed between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m.”

Woodbury added, “A similar event happened during the Route 5 project for a hydrant that required all new valves, a project that prior to the new isolation valves may have required a broad shutdown instead of just a few city blocks.”

Dunkirk’s government authorized the valves in the aftermath of a catastrophic Lake Shore Drive main break on Aug. 31, 2021. The rupture led to loss of water service for much of the city for two days, then a boil-water order for a couple days after that. Residents lined up at the Firemen’s Training Grounds on Brigham Road for free water provided by the city and state.

The citywide outage was something “we decided we didn’t want to have that again, if possible,” Woodbury told the council last week. “Immediately after we installed those (valves), we needed them.”

There were 12 valves installed across the city. Woodbury said all the valves are ready for use.

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