LaGRANGE — A water main broke beneath West Haralson Street on Monday, leaving some taps dry as crews shut off the water and worked to make repairs.
The 18-inch main broke mid-morning and crews shut down West Haralson between North Greenwood and Gordon streets as they brought in an excavator to tear up the street and reach the main. City officials initially believed the pipe to be 16 inches, but records were found to be inaccurate once crews reached the pipe.
Reaching the pipe took longer than expected because it was buried 14 feet, according to Patrick Bowie, the city’s utilities director.
“We had to dig a swimming pool sized hole. One of the things about utilities is you inherit them from prior generations, so sometimes you just don’t know,” Bowie said. “Most (water lines) are buried about 4 to 5 feet deep.”
The section of street is expected to stay closed to through traffic until the end of the week as it is repaired, according to Chris Prather, the city’s street superintendent. Residents who live along that area of West Haralson Street may still access it.
Although some residents may have seen red-colored water flowing from their taps, there is no need to boil water, Bowie said, because the city’s water tanks and other systems kept the pressure high enough to prevent contamination. Anyone who is still seeing discoloration should let their taps run until the water clears, Bowie added.
Residences and offices west of Church Street to Springdale Drive were most likely to be affected. Crews worked until 11 p.m. to reach and repair the pipe, and water service was returned to residents about that time. It was 1 a.m. today before crews had filled the hole.
Bowie explained that crews found a cracked joint connecting two pipes, but the integrity of the water main itself was fine.
“We’re not sure if it was a manufacturing defect, or some other problem,” Bowie said. “Pipes move over time and they found some rocks underneath it, so that could have been the issue. We’re just not completely sure.”
George Fineran, a resident of Gordon Street near where the main broke, said he’d not experienced any loss as crews dug toward the pipe around lunch time Monday.
“We’ve had no problems,” he said. “There’s been a little less water pressure, but we’ve taken two showers and the toilets are working fine.”
The water main was placed in the 1940s, according to city officials. Crews were unsure of the cause of the break.
Tyler H. Jones is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.