Last week the Village of Walden experienced a water main break during a heavy snowstorm, causing department of public works (DPW) employees and contractors to battle the elements.
The pipe began leaking water on Sunday, Jan. 31 and came to the surface of South Montgomery Street at about 7 a.m. the next morning. Workers continued to clean up the spill until 11 a.m. Tuesday morning. Fred Perna, Walden superintendent of public works confirmed that the village lost 767,000 gallons of water per day.
The water main break would have been difficult to deal with under normal circumstances, however it was made more challenging by a major winter storm in which much of the Hudson Valley saw snow totals that were equal to or greater than almost all of the snow that fell in the 2019-2020 winter season. Orange County was blanketed in snow. According to hudsonvalleyweather.com final snow totals for Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 were 22 inches in Newburgh, 20 inches in Washingtonville and 21 inches in Tuxedo Park.
“It was freezing cold, real wet, you couldn’t see,” Perna said. “It was just horrible.”
In addition, the department was down two men who tested positive for COVID-19. Contractors were called in for additional aid.
“You do what it takes,” Perna said. “Thank you to the contractors who came out to help while we were short-handed. My guys! I was impressed, tired, worn out, wet and cold. They just kept going and going.”
Members of the community were grateful for the hard work of the DPW employees and contractors.
“To the men of the DPW and Fred Perna for their hard work during extreme conditions, you are the best,” said Walden Trustee Brian Sebring.
“Always impressive and dedicated,” Former Walden Deputy Mayor Faith Moore said regarding Perna. “Thank you for leading such an amazing team of dedicated people.”