Failure to follow 811 guidelines results in recent Bridgeport water line break

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 12:47 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

This article comes from our media partners at Connect Bridgeport.

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - The Meadowbrook Mall and surrounding areas were impacted for a short time on July 25 when a water line broke.

Bridgeport Public Works Director Tiny Grimes and City Engineer Beth Fox said it was a water line break that should have been avoided.

“The carnival that was in town for that week were putting up tents. While doing that, the carnival crew or their tent company drove a spike right into one of the main lines,” said Fox.

The line was a 12-inch line under the parking lot running behind the former Sears location at the Meadowbrook Mall.

While many of the tent stakes went through the asphalt with no problem, one of them went into a coupling of the waterline that resulted in a substantial leak.

While it may seem like a harmless accident, Fox as well as City Manager Brian Newton pointed out that there is protocol that is required to be followed to greatly reduce or eliminate the possibility of it happening.

The group putting in the stakes did not contact West Virginia 811, the state’s “Call Before you Dig” hotline. It is a requirement by West Virginia State Code.

The call, said Fox, is simple and once made, all utility companies are notified. Utilities are then required to mark and locate their facilities within 48 hours (holidays and weekends are exceptions).

“That’s the reason it needs to be done,” said Fox. “You can choose not to do it and take the risk and sometimes the risk in you’re going to include debt because what ends up being damaged to utilities. To avoid this, all it would have taken was a call a couple of days prior.”

Fox said city crews were on the scene for several hours. She, and Newton, said the city will be reimbursed for the cost. Newton said the cost was more than $6,000.

“There was an invoice sent to the mall who oversees the events there. They will pay it or pass it on to the vendor to pay for it or an insurance company will pay for it,” said Fox. “This is a cautionary tale of why you need to call. Not only is it a law, but it can be costly if you don’t.”

Copyright 2022 WDTV. All rights reserved.