Helper in need – GF Piping Systems and the Ponte Vecchio

Sep 27, 2016 10:00 AM

What a mess! When a giant sink hole built near the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy, swallowing dozens of cars, GF Piping Systems was around to help out with its MULTI/JOINT 3000 Plus flange adaptors and ELGEF Plus electrofusion couplers.


Florence on 25 May 2016. About thirty car owners were about to regret parking in downtown Florence alongside the quay, with a view of the Ponte Vecchio. Around noon, all of a sudden, a large part of the embankment collapsed and came crashing down a number of meters. A leaking cast iron water pipe washed away a massive amount of soil, causing a giant hole with a swirling water mass, which swallowed the parked cars and caused an enormous mess.

Water supply within 24 hours by means of a bypass

Within 24 hours the worst mess was cleaned up again and the water supply for this part of town was restored with a bypass. Then it was time to assess the total damages: it will take at least six months before all damages can be repaired and the embankment can be restored.

Problem solving is always being prepared

The water company in Florence, Publiacqua S.p.A., applies the principle that new suppliers of materials must go through a tough screening before they can actually supply anything. Fortunately for the city, employees of GF Italy had brought the MULTI/JOINT 3000 Plus system to the attention of Publiacqua S.p.A. a number of times already, so the product had already been approved for use in the network of Publiacqua S.p.A.

Business partner close by


One of GF Piping Systems’ business partners, S.D.M. s.r.l., is located in Calenzano, near Florence. The company supplies cast iron and PE fittings and accessories to various gas and water companies. The owner, Massimo Santini, also owns a transport company with trucks that can carry 12,5 m long pipes. All of this came in very handy that day.

Emergency repair


S.D.M. s.r.l. was contacted almost immediately after the embankment came down. They got in touch with GF Piping Systems and other suppliers and were able to deliver the required materials for the bypass in PE with the speed of lightning. The supply of drinking water to the area was restored within 24 hours. This was possible thanks to the local stock of products at S.D.M. s.r.l. and good relations they have with their suppliers. Two MULTI/JOINT 3000 Plus DN600 flange adaptors were immediately supplied from the stock to Publiacqua S.p.A. GF Italy supplied two additional DN600 flange adaptors and eight ELGEF electrofusion couplings d 500 mm very quickly from the GF Piping Systems distribution centre in Italy.



The repair of the main cast iron pipe and the other damages caused by the breakage of the pipe is well under way. However, it will take at least until November before the work is completely finished. The “disaster” in Florence will not easily be forgotten. To the water company of Florence, MULTI/JOINT 3000 Plus was a lifesaver for this big emergency. The product offered a true added value to the water company, the city of Florence, S.D.M. s.r.l. and especially the inhabitants and tourists of Florence.



Attila Albert

Attila Albert
Public Relations & Communication
Georg Fischer Piping Systems Ltd.
Ebnatstrasse 111
8201 Schaffhausen

attila dot albert #at# georgfischer dot com