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Entire city of Fort Lauderdale was without water after main break

Service is being restored to the more than 200,000 customers affected, but Florida officials are advising residents to boil their water.
Image: Water Main Break, Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale fire rescue work the scene of a water main break near the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport Thursday, July 18, 2019.

A state of emergency was declared Thursday after a water main break cut water to nearly a quarter million people in South Florida.

On Thursday afternoon, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said water service had been restored to most residents in the city, but that it may be lost again as long-term repairs continue. Trantalis told reporters Thursday that city workers were able to partially patch the water main and water pressure increased as a result.

"We are now building a concrete bunker around the broken pipe that will seal the break," Trantalis said. "We will protect the patch ... and prevent the break from increasing or getting worse."

This temporary solution will give the city time to redirect water flow to a backup line, according to Trantalis.

The entire city of Fort Lauderdale and surrounding communities had lost water service immediately following the main break. A boil-water advisory was still in effect on Thursday even as water was being restored.

Authorities said the boil-water advisory will likely be in place for another 48 hours as the city attempts to restore service to its treatment plant.

On Wednesday, a contractor hit a 42-inch main during construction near the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The main supplies water to the Fiveash Water Treatment Plant.

The outage affected all or parts of Port Everglades, Oakland Park, Davie, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Sea Ranch Lakes, Tamarac and Wilton Manors.

Earlier Thursday, city officials said more than 200,000 customers could be without water until later Thursday or Friday evening.