MCLB-ALBANY — Officials at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany ultimately determined that a water main rupture early Thursday was what caused water pressure to suddenly drop aboard the base, resulting in non-essential personnel being sent home for the day.
The water main ruptured at approximately 3 a.m., draining the base’s water distribution and storage system. MCLB-Albany’s Installation and Environment Division was unable to locate the leak until 9:30 a.m. because of its location in a secluded area away from the installation’s main infrastructure.
Normally, an automated system restores water and pressure, but in this case, it was unable to do so because of the size of the rupture and the rate at which water was being lost. Crews were able to secure the affected part of the system and restored pressure within two hours of sealing that portion of the system, officials at the base said.
Without water for chillers, restrooms, firefighting capability and boiler support, among other things, a majority of personnel aboard MCLB-Albany were placed on administrative leave.
Labor and lost production costs have not yet been fully calculated, but the cost of the rupture is believed to be significant with the loss of a full work day for thousands of employees who had to leave the base, including civilian workers of the base command, Marine Corps Logistics Command and Marine Depot Maintenance Command, officials say.
The Child Development Center, Naval Branch Health Clinic and all food services were closed a result of the water main break, while the Marine Corps Exchange remained open to those with base access.
The installation was expected to be fully operational today.
While nearly $10 million was invested several years ago to update a portion of the distribution system, the installation command has planned a three-phase project to replace the rest of the system, officials say.
Officials also said on Thursday afternoon that an investigation into the cause of this specific leak was ongoing, and up-to-date information would be provided to the public, as well as its work force, as to the causes and preventative measures that will take place in the future.