When dealing with an aging infrastructure system, one problem often leads to another. The difficulty of predicting exactly where the metaphorical dominoes will fall in such situations can force quick responses from responding agencies.

That was the case Tuesday morning when a Meadville Area Water Authority (MAWA) crew returned to repair a valve near the intersection of Market and Pine streets, according to Project Manager Bob Harrington.

The valve had been closed during repairs to a water main break about a block north near the intersection of Market and South streets on May 27. Following the closure, the valve developed a leak, which Harrington said was normal in such situations given the age of the system.

What happened when MAWA staff members began work to stop the leak was less typical.

“It should‘ve taken a couple of nuts and bolts, but when they uncovered it the entire upper section of the valve failed,” Harrington said. “They had to shut down a bigger area and replace the whole valve.”

The MAWA crew remained at the location from about 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and closed six additional valves within a couple of blocks of the valve failure so that it could be repaired, Harrington said. During that time, 31 customers were without water service for less than three hours.

While service in the area is back to normal, more work remains to be done. Harrington said another nearby valve will be replaced and a section of deteriorating pipe that was identified during the initial water main repair on May 27 will be cut out and replaced. Permanent repairs to affected paving will follow.

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