Fort Lauderdale Water Line Break: What Went Wrong

On Wednesday, July 17th, residents of Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas woke up to unexpected and inconvenient news: the main line supplying water to an estimated 220,000 people was broken overnight, and there was no estimated timeline for a complete repair. Residents were told to avoid using water unless absolutely crucial, as the entire city and surrounding areas only had access to a limit reserve.  

People were unable to wash dishes, shower, brush their teeth, or even cook as they normally would, and no one could say for certain when service would be restored. They were scared, with thoughts of Flint, Michigan instantly coming to mind. South Floridians stocked up on bottles of water and remained vigilant, waiting for updates. The incident even reached national headlines as people across the country demanded answers.  

But, instead of uncovering maintenance negligence on the part of the city, the truth was soon revealed: nearly a quarter million people were without water because of operation error. 

The break in question occurred on a construction site near the Hollywood/Ft. Lauderdale International Airport when a subcontractor of Florida Power and Lights drilled a six-inch hole into the main water line. The leak was not discovered initially, leading to a delay in repair and potentially causing contamination. That’s why, when water was restored to most of the city 24 hours later, residents were placed under an indefinite boil water advisory. Thankfully, by Thursday evening, the boil water advisory was lifted for most areas. 

What caused all of this to happen? Fort Lauderdale residents are still looking for answers, and it seems a new company founded in March of 2019 is at the core of this crisis. Though the specific crew member responsible has not been identified, the founder of the company in question has been a contractor for over a decade. It is not clear whether the founder was present at the time of the incident. 

What Went Wrong? 

The cause of most construction and repair error boils down to three causes: rushing, inexperience, or cutting corners. While we cannot pretend to have an exact answer in this case, it is a great reminder for contractors and contracting companies to ensure all employees are fully trained and all projects are performed to the best of your ability. Caterpillar team training in Fort Lauderdale and Miami with Pantropic Power can help to prevent this type of accident from happening again. 

Even if you and your team don’t work on such large-scale projects, it’s important to provide the highest quality service each and every time. Not only does this protect your reputation, it maintains the safety of your clients. For jobs that require heavier equipment, certified CAT team training with Pantropic is a must. Our Caterpillar machinery experts offer thorough instruction and hands-on training to ensure you and your team are operating your machinery safely and responsibly. 

Don’t let your business become the subject of national news for the wrong reason. Contact Pantropic Power today to schedule your Caterpillar team training in Fort Lauderdale and Miami!