Two water main breaks might leave some without water

Friday, November 20, 2009 | 10:24 a.m. CST
Police have blocked off a portion of Hitt Street because a broken water main is flooding the street.

COLUMBIA — Two water main breaks, one on Hitt Street and one on Rockcreek Drive, have disrupted water service and, in some areas, diverted traffic.

Around 9 a.m., water cracked through the surface of the road between Paquin Street and University Avenue on Hitt Street. Police have blocked a section of Hitt Street while water flowing from the broken 8-inch line floods the street.


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Bystanders were taking pictures of the flood as it flowed high under cars parked along the side of the street. One car was towed to allow access to the break.

Columbia Water and Light officials had just arrive at the scene around 10 a.m. and were trying to locate utility lines before starting repairs.

Connie Kacprowicz, spokeswoman for Water and Light, said repairs could take 2 to 4 hours. 

"It kind of depends on how quickly the utility locations get there," she said.

Kacprowicz said 15 to 20 nearby apartment units could lose their water service while repairs are made.

Sections of the sidewalk were impassable for pedestrians, and police closed Hitt Street from University Avenue to Paquin Street.

A separate 6-inch line broke at Rockcreek Drive in West Columbia. Repairs crews have located nearby utilities and beginning repairs, Kacprowicz said.

She said the main should be fixed in a couple of hours, but about 10 nearby houses could lose water service.

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Paul Love November 20, 2009 | 1:00 p.m.

Sort of odd to have two water mains break at the same time in widely separate locations. Did we have a minor earth tremor or over presure in the lines? Any idea of the cause of the breaks?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 20, 2009 | 5:06 p.m.

Old and out dates clay or Terracotta piping,heavy traffic flow,vibrations,poor compaction of materials around original projects,all of the above?

Let's run through the entire gauntlets of failure that can lead up to pre mature water line breakage.leakage and the like.

Maybe our friendly and elderly engineer posting member can give us more in depth details from his view.

(Report Comment)
Steve Wolff November 20, 2009 | 6:24 p.m.

The older water mains located throughout town are primarly made of ductile iron pipe which, contrary to the pipe manufacturers, is susceptible to corrosion. Water main breaks such as these are usually associated with the corrosion of the pipe and will continue untill they are replaced as infrastructure upgrades. A huge problem facing most municipalities is paying for infrastructure replacement. I just hope those city planners that are charged with this replacement task do not fall into the same dogma that their predecessors did by letting the ductile pipe industry sell them the pipe that will not have the life expectancy that the cost justifys. Simply put, there are cost effective ways and technologies that can reduce corrossion in our water infrastructure that will ensure that our grandchildren won't have to be replacing the very waterlines we are installing today.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 21, 2009 | 4:18 a.m.

Thanks Steve Wolff for the explanation.

I wonder if all of that money sunk into the two new down town Cash Pigs Projects were used on the upgrades to infrastructure we truly need how much could have been done.

Good question huh?

(Report Comment)

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