Heritage Hills in Somers Suffers Water Main Break

SOMERS, N.Y.--A break in a Heritage Hills water main cut service to almost all of that complex’s 5,000 residential customers for the better part of a day last week. Full service—drinkable water flowing from a tap—was unavailable through the weekend and not restored until early this week.

From the initial water main break late Thursday, Sept. 21, to the total shutdown early Friday, Sept. 22, to restoration Monday evening, residents’ water came from bottles, a local school and, for a fortunate few, the gravity-fed, undrinkable remains of the broken pipe itself.

A boil-water notice remained in effect into Monday as county health officials grappled with the potential for contaminants entering the water supply via an unpressurized pipe. 

Sign Up for E-News

Heritage Hills provides its own water and sewer services through a private company, overseen by Severn-Trent Management.

Michael Batz, the regional manager for Severn-Trent, said officials could not immediately determine the cause of the pipe’s failure. 

“If you could answer that question,” he said in response to a query, “you would be a hero.”  

The Heritage Hills pipe has been laid in stages over the last three decades, providing more than 360,000 gallons of drinking water each day to the development’s 2,600 residential units.

The break—different officials put the rupture at anywhere from six inches to six feet—occurred in an eight-inch pipe running through the high ground of Condo 15. It burst at about 9:45 Thursday night (Sept. 21), said David Jacobson, chief of security at Heritage Hills.

That break immediately cut off the flow to about 95 of the complex’s homes, he said. By late the next morning, however, it was clear that a broken valve would mean turning off water to all the community’s residents. 

“They didn’t turn the water completely off to the complex until noontime on Friday,” Jacobson said.

Meanwhile, water escaping from the broken main had invaded a community center. 

“That shelter was flooded out,” said Somers Police Chief Michael Driscoll, who described the facility as the town’s primary shelter in emergencies.

“We would open a shelter in cases like this to let people get water, take a shower and other necessities,” Driscoll said. With that option foreclosed, he telephoned Kenneth Crowley, the Somers Central School District’s assistant superintendent for business.

Crowley quickly made the Somers Middle School available as an emergency water source and restroom site. SMS remained open till midnight Friday, Driscoll said, then reopened at 6 a.m. Saturday.

“I was very thankful for the school, that they opened that up on such short notice,” Driscoll said. “Ken Crowley did a great job with us, as did his custodians.” The chief said that about two-dozen Heritage Hills residents took advantage of the school facilities.

Other Heritage Hills residents had different workarounds. Jane Capelli, who lives downhill from the break, still had tap water despite the water main’s shutdown. “Gravity was in our favor,” she said. 

“Because there was some water left in the pipes, those who were at the right pitch got water,” Capelli explained. “So, we did have water...but we had to be very careful with it.” Water for drinking and hand-washing dishes had to be boiled.

“But you could take a shower or do your laundry,” she said. “That you could do.”

Pointing to the crises confronting post-hurricane populations elsewhere, Capelli shrugged off her own weekend’s inconvenience. “The people in Puerto Rico,” she noted, “wish they had this problem.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Momma's birds fled the nest

This year I was late in setting up my deck. Call it procrastination, muggy weather or whatever excuse, I finally got to it last week. With help from son, George, we set up the outdoor dining table and chairs; he methodically placed the flower boxes on the railing: “they have to be evenly spaced!”

We did have a concern: what about the nest the sweet little birds had built under the ...

Be-bop near the train stop

Last Friday was such a nice day we decided to head down to Tarrytown and take in some jazz in Pierson Park for the Friday Evening Concert Series. If you’re in the mood for it, a little jazz can be just the thing. Much of it is instrumental, so you don’t even have to sing along. Every time I see a rock band these days, they start the song, get to the chorus and then stick the mic out ...

Semantic revision of history

The latest fiasco I’ve read about is the renaming of the “Laura Ingalls Wilder Award” to the “Children’s Literature Legacy Award.” Why? Because the renowned author of Little House On The Prairie portrayed Native Americans (American Indians) in stereotypical language.

I must inject a personal experience here. A great friend of mine many years ago was Red ...

You’ll Get a Kick out of Musical Classic ‘Anything Goes’

I’ve loved Broadway musicals since I was smaller than a piano bench. That’s one reason I enjoy writing about local productions in this space. The more people who go to musicals, the happier it makes me.

I didn’t realize how old-fashioned about musicals I could be, though, until my wife Elyse and I at long last saw “Wicked.” It only took us 15 years to get there.

The Adventures of Superdog

I was always very impressed that my dog could bark on command and come when I called his name, until I read in the newspaper about a dog that saved his owner’s life by calling 9-1-1. Apparently, when his owner had a seizure, the dog pushed a speed-dial button for 9-1-1, barked into the receiver for help, and then opened the door when the responders arrived.

Honestly, though, it’s ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, July 24, 1:00 PM

Yorktown Heights



Sat, July 28, 6:30 PM

Weil Preserve, North Salem

Jazz in the Meadow with Bill Evans

Arts & Entertainment Other


Tue, July 31, 1:00 PM

Yorktown Heights