A major water main break caused flooding and problems for commuters and residents Wednesday in a section of downtown Miami.
Miami Fire Rescue officials said there was a “significant break” at 201 South Biscayne Boulevard.
Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Pete Sanchez said firefighters responded to the area around 7 a.m. and found water flowing out of a large crack in the pavement.
“Several parts of the pavement were cracked and water was actively flowing below the concrete. It is flowing into two or three buildings that are in the area that have underground parking,” he said, adding that crews were working to determine where the leak was coming from.
Aerial footage showed a watery mess with some of the water flowing into nearby Biscayne Bay.
County officials issued a precautionary boil water order to the following addresses:
• Met 1, 300 S Biscayne Blvd
• Muze, 340 SE 3 St
• South East Financial, 200 S Biscayne Blvd
• Citi Group Center, 201 S Biscayne Blvd
The order advises residents to boil their water prior to drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, making ice and washing dishes until further notice. Water should be brought to a full rolling boil for at least one minute. Bottled water may be used as an alternative. Water can be used for bathing and other household needs.
The water line was repaired and water service was restored to the affected buildings Wednesday evening, but road restoration was ongoing. Drivers were still advised to avoid the area of Biscayne Boulevard from SE 2nd Street to Biscayne Way and SE 3rd Avenue to Biscayne Boulevard.
Officials with the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department do not believe cold weather had anything to do with the spontaneous break and instead looked at aging infrastructure as the possible cause.
“The oldest pipes in the city tend to be downtown and some along Brickell, some along 8th street. This was one of those pipes that was already being designed for replacement,” said Kevin Lynskey, the director of Miami-Dade Water and Sewer. “We were at 60% design today and our construction schedule has had construction beginning within one year so this one of those pipes that we had hoped to replace before we saw a break in it.”
Metromover service in the area was suspended as crews made repairs. Free shuttle buses were provided for affected commuters.
Recently installed stormwater drains helped dry things up. There were some environmental concerns about the water draining into the bay, but officials say the water was treated.
“Obviously it would have been better if this pipe hadn’t burst and it was scheduled to be repaired, but this was clean water so people shouldn’t be super, super worried about that,” said Miami-Dade Commissioner Eileen Higgins.