NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodFort Myers Metro South


Boil water notice expands following second water main break in Fort Myers

The city says this second water main break is on Colonial Boulevard between Colonial Country Club Boulevard and Treeline Avenue.
Fort Myers Water Main Break
Posted at 11:12 AM, Feb 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-23 16:46:47-05

UPDATE (4:45 p.m.): The City of Fort Myers says the main break started at 5 a.m. initially as a crack in the line and continually expanded, which led to the water main break at 8:45 a.m. The city says water plant staff estimates the city lost 1.5 million gallons of water due to this break.

ORIGINAL: For the second time this week, there is another water main break in Fort Myers. It happens to be near the first one, which happened on Wednesday and has forced 21,145 customers to boil their water until further notice.

The city says the second water main break is on Colonial Boulevard between Colonial Country Club Boulevard and Treeline Avenue. Around 8:45 a.m., the city noticed a drop in water pressure and said there was a break. It took about an hour to isolate the break, but as of Friday afternoon, it was still gushing water.

While the first and second breaks were close to each other, the city says they are completely separate.

"As soon as we have a determination for what caused it — we have to see the pipe, the conditions of the soil and the nature of the break in order to make further determinations," said Richard Moulton, Utilities Director for the City of Fort Myers. "We do know that we have a lot of assets in that area, we have stormwater, we have reuse lines, so we’re still investigating specifics of the break."

The breaks came from two separate water lines, which is why the city says they are not related to each other.

"It is unusual in that we don’t typically have that frequency, but in terms of whether or not we can predict that or next week we will have a recurrence — it's almost impossible to tell," Moulton said.

The pipes were installed between 2002 and 2004 and Moulton says they have a 60 to 80-year life span, which is why they believe age has nothing to do with the break.s

Fox 4 asked what can be done to prevent future breaks.

"There’s no way to predict where and when water main breaks occur," Moulton said. "It’s a function of how water flows, it’s a function of the soil, it’s function of construction methods. It’s a function of the pipe itself. Each event is unique and should be investigated as such."

They do have 60 pressure monitors in this area, so they can see exactly where a break is, but says the challenge s to shut it off and find the valves.

The break on Wednesday caused the city to lose 800,000 gallons of water.

To lift the boil water notice, they need two consecutive days of passing water quality tests, per state standard.

While the earliest would be Saturday afternoon, it would have been sooner if the second break didn't happen.

"We have to combine them [tests] because the second break happened inside the timeline for the first, so it invalidates the results of the first.," Moulton said.

The second break has expanded the previous boil water notice in place.

It now includes the Olympia Pointe Subdivision, the Sherwood subdivision, the Publix Shopping Center on Lee Blvd and the Lee County Recycling Center.

The following areas were already under a boil water notice:

As a reminder to all residents and businesses in the vicinity of Treeline Ave and Forum Blvd to Daniels Pkwy including:
Forum, Promenade East and West, The Colonnades, Cypress Legends, Colonial Country Club, Treeline Elementary, Pelican Preserve Botanica Lakes, Bridgetown, Marina Bay, Arborwood, Somerset At The Plantation and Legacy Gateway

As a precautionary measure, the city advises boiling water for drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth or washing dishes.

The city says it will continue to test the water and notify the community through AlertLee, via email, through a notice on the city's website and on social media.