Business grinds to a halt after water break in Fort Lauderdale

Workers try to fix the water main break at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport

Businesses, restaurants and shopping centers around Fort Lauderdale were closing Thursday as taps dried up after a contractor damaged a 42-inch water main.

The damaged main connects the city’s wellfield near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport with the Five Ash Water Treatment plant along Powerline Road where it runs underneath I-95. Without water from the wellfield, the treatment plant was shut down and the few water towers in the city weren’t enough to keep the water flowing.

One worker at an aviation business at the airport told the Sun-Sentinel that the main ruptured about 2 p.m.. on Wednesday and flooded a parking lot between hangars. When SFBW visit the site there was a report that a piece of pipe to fix the break was being brought up from Kendall. The city said water was expected to be off until at least Friday morning if not longer.

Mayor Dean Trantalis signed a state of local emergency and the city issued a boil water alert. The Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire Rescue department activated its emergency fire suppression plan for Port Everglades, which would use ocean water in case it needs to fight a fire.

A pipe for one of Fort Lauderdale’s water wells near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport is visible to the right.

The city identified the contractor as Florida Communication Concepts, a subcontractor working with Florida Power & Light Co. State records say Florida Communication Concepts is based in Wellington. SFBW called the law firm listed as its registered agent, but could not immediately gain comments since attorneys were in a meeting.

The lack of water led to widespread closing of businesses, including hotels on the city’s beach. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport gets its water from Hollywood, so it was able to stay open.

In addition to not having water flowing from faucets and to flush toilets, safety was also an issue since there wasn’t water for fire sprinkler systems. The economic impact will undoubtedly range into the tens of millions of dollars.

Some commercial buildings and high-rise condos also use water-based cooling systems that were having to shut down since there was no new water to feed them as water evaporated.

The Breakthrough Wealth Summit at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center was moved to the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood.

The City of Ft. Lauderdale 24-hour Neighbor Service is available to answer any resident questions at (954) 828-8000.





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Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.