Water main break destroys street near Los Angeles, California - July 29, 2014    

"All the land between New England and Mexico is being pulled at a diagonal, and it is not just the fault lines that are feeling stress. All will participate when the New Madrid Fault makes a serious adjustment."  ZetaTalk


Since 2013, a conspicuous number of water main breaks and sinkholes have been reported across the U.S.  While water lines commonly rupture during winter months, especially in regions experiencing subfreezing temperatures, large water mains are fracturing in southern states where ground temperatures remain above freezing.

Notable water main breaks and sinkholes during the first 6 days of 2013:


January 1

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - "Super Sinkhole Walter" and 40 Others

Harrisburg officials expect it will take several weeks to repair damage from a massive sinkhole that forced dozens of residents to evacuate.

The city’s Department of Public Works said it could be another 30 days before water, sewer and gas lines are replaced in the neighborhood where the sinkhole is causing problems.  "Super Sinkhole Walter," as the North Fourth Street collapse has been called, is big enough to have its own Foursquare check-in location.

On Thursday, the massive hole partially swallowed a construction backhoe.

The hole opened Monday morning, and later opened a bigger hole.

A spokesman for Mayor Linda Thompson said the city must replace the entire water and sewer system lines on the block.
The spokesman, Robert Philbin, said new water and sewer lines will not be working for five to six weeks.

These two large sinkholes in the 2100 block of North Fourth Street are among at least 40 sinkholes covered by steel plates citywide, according to Kevin Hagerich, director of the city’s Department of Public Works.

Interactive Map of Known Sinkholes in Harrisburg







January 3

Malibu, California - Recurring Water Main Breaks

Another water main break in Malibu collapsed part of John Tyler Drive as crews worked to repair the leak.

A broken water main and partially collapsed road have narrowed traffic to one lane on Malibu Country Drive near John Tyler Drive.

Between 30 and 35 customers in Malibu Country Estates are without water. Los Angeles County Public Works received a call about a partially collapsed roadway on Malibu Country Drive at 9:30 a.m, according to spokesman Mike Kaspar.

Kaspar said the road is cut down to one lane for approximately 100 yards.

This is the second water main break reported in Malibu in as many days. On Wednesday, the main that supplies water to the Adamson House broke and employees from Public Works worked overnight on a temporary fix and permanent reroute of the underground pipeline. Westbound traffic on Pacific Coast Highway was cut down to one lane between Malibu Inn and Serra Road while crews made the repair.




Grand Rapids, Michigan - Big Hole / Deep Water

A water main break has closed the westbound lanes of 44th Street between Division Avenue and U.S. 131 in Wyoming, Michigan

A broken valve is causing complications in repairing the break in a 16-inch water main and the road may be closed until Saturday, authorities now say.

The valve, which broke in a partially-closed position, must be replaced before the water main can be fixed, Wyoming Director of Public Works William Dooley said in a statement on Friday, Jan. 4.

The water main broke area of 44th Street SW and Clay Avenue on Thursday.

The westbound lanes of 44th Street are closed near Clay Avenue, and Clay is closed from 44th Street north to Louisiana Avenue.

Dooley said the repair is taking much longer than anticipated because of the valve problem. Water is still flowing from the main because the valve cannot be closed.

A private contractor has been called to help city crews and they expect to fix the valve this afternoon.

Dooley said the water main break has not affected drinking water to area residents.

“Once the valve has been replaced, we will start work to repair the water main and hope to have that wrapped up yet today. We recognize and apologize for the inconvenience that this has caused to businesses, area residents and motorists and are working as quickly as we can to return things to normal," Dooley said in the statement.




January 4

New Orleans, Louisiana - Cajun Geyser

A water main break in the middle of Adams Street near Maple poured water into the streets Friday afternoon.

Sewerage and Water Board crews arrived on the scene around 1:30 pm to address the incident.

An hour or so later, the break erupted into a full-blown geyser, showering Adams Street with water.

Water was rising on the sides of the street near several Uptown businesses, creeping up on the tires of some cars.





January 5

Atlanta, Georgia

A massive water main break caused headaches for both residents and drivers on Clairmont Road in Chamblee, more than 24 hours after it first happened.

A huge hole opened up in the road between Airport Road and Wingate Road Saturday morning. Residents in the area were without water for much of the weekend after the 30-inch water main break.

DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan told Channel 2 Action News that they first had to clear out the water from the hole to determine the cause before they could begin repairing it. Major damage to the road and the sidewalk could still be seen well into Sunday morning.

Brennan says the pipe's age could have been a factor in the break.

Police were on the scene to re-direct traffic away from the area near DeKalb-Peachtree Airport.



Sacramento, California

Water main break floods East Sacramento neighborhood

A 16-inch water main broke Saturday morning, turning two streets into ponds and damaging several homes along 39th and D Streets.



Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority says that a 30-inch line broke in the Oakland/Bloomfield area near the South Millvale Bridge at Morewood Street.

Two Port Authority stations and a portion of bus routes were closed after the water main break.

The break happened in North Oakland around 6 a.m. and the Neville Ramp, Herron and Negley Port Authority stations were closed as a result, our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report.

The East Liberty station is as far as inbound buses can go and outbound buses will make it to the 26th Street Ramp, the Post-Gazette says.

Officials said the water main break exposed a 24-inch Equitable gas line.

“Public Safety is our No. 1 concern,” Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority Director of Operations Tom Palmosina said in a press release. “PWSA crew responded immediately and began isolating the leak.”

PWSA officials said that all efforts are being focused on the gas line.



January 6

Seattle, Washington

A large water main break on Sunday caused the closure of State Route 20 in Port Townsend near the ferry terminal.

Around 3 a.m., Police and Public Works responded to the 1800 block of Water Street where the break was reported near the Tides Inn and Suites.

Portions of State Route 20 pavement were raised several inches above the original road bed as pressure from the water pushed up to the surface. When crews first arrived on scene they found water running west down the road. At least one business, The Food Co-op, 414 Kearney Street, had flood damage as water rushed into the building.

The closure affects commuters traveling to the Port Townsend-Coupeville ferry route.  Detour routes for ferry traffic have been set up through city streets.

Water to at least a dozen businesses and residents was shut off but was restored by 3:30 p.m.

The Department of Transportation will not have materials available to begin repairing the highway until sometime Monday, according to Claudia Bingham Baker, WSDOT communications manager.

Detours will remain in place until crews determine the road is safe to reopen, which would occur Monday at the earliest.

The cause of the break is under investigation.


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Comment by Howard on October 9, 2013 at 3:59am

Water Main Erupts in Seattle Washington (Oct 8)
A 16-inch water main ruptured near University Village on Tuesday afternoon.

Fire alarms across the University of Washington campus were set off by the sudden drop in water pressure.

The water main is a major one for the city but it was unclear how many water customers were affected. Inspectors were still at the scene late Tuesday afternoon, trying to identify the location of the break and the cause.

"It was a lot of water," said Josh Dautremont, who was working at Eureka Burger when the water main broke. "It was hitting the bridge." (the Northeast 45th Street viaduct running from the University of Washington to the shopping center).

The Starbucks nearest the water main was closed but other stores remained open, though with few customers.

Water flowed through the shopping center's parking lot but sandbags were placed in time to divert the widening lake into drains, where large whirlpools formed.




Comment by Howard on October 8, 2013 at 3:56am

2 Water Mains Blow in Omaha, Nebraska (Oct 7)
A geyser at 85th and Center coincided with another water main break two blocks away in downtown Omaha Nebraska.

About 40 commercial and business customers were affected.

The cause of the breaks are under investigation,




Comment by Derrick Johnson on October 6, 2013 at 7:38am


Water main break forces closure of Washington Avenue near Juniper


 , CA — A water main break has snarled traffic in central Escondido by creating a sink hole on Washington Avenue between Juniper Street and Waverly Place, city officials said.

The street has been closed indefinitely pending pipe and road repairs. Water has been shut off in the area.

Crews from the state Department of Transportation were trying to figure out exactly which water line was broken and how to fix it just after 5 p.m., city officials said.

City Councilman John Masson, who works nearby, said spectators gathered to watch the unusual scene Friday afternoon.

"The whole road from curb to curb was puffed up about six inches," Masson said. "It was quite amazing to see. The water was bubbling out and they finally shut it off."



Comment by Howard on September 28, 2013 at 2:37am

Multiple Water Mains Rupture Across Jackson, Mississippi (Sept 27)

Eight broken water mains have public works crews working overtime to restore service across the city of Jackson.

Residents across the city are under a boil water notice. Those areas affected include Petit Bois, Avery Circle, Whitworth Street, Forest Park Drive and River Oaks Place.

The boil water notice will remain in effect for at least two days since two consecutive days of clean water testing results are required.  

Residents are urged not to drink tap water or use ice from the freezer without a filter. Residents can cook or wash dishes, but must boil the tap water for at least one minute before using it. Bathing is safe as long as the water is not swallowed.




Comment by Howard on September 22, 2013 at 6:27pm

Ruptured Water Main Creates Geyser in Napa, California (Sept 21)
Water shot about 100 feet into the air at about 3 p.m. Saturday after a water main apparently broke along southbound Highway 29 and Devlin Road in south Napa County.

For about an hour, vehicles slowed as drivers snapped photos of the jet that shot water and dirt into the air as public works employees for the city of Napa tried to slowly shut down valves.

The cause of the break was not immediately known.



Comment by Howard on September 18, 2013 at 6:07am

Water Main Erupts in St. Louis, Missouri (Sept 17)
A massive geyser from a water main break shut down St. Charles street Tuesday morning.

The 16-inch water main break happened at the intersection of New Town Blvd. and Fountain Lakes Blvd. around 10:45 a.m.

Crews responded to the scene and turned the water off, though New Town Blvd. remains closed in the early parts of the afternoon.

The incident comes just days after another water main break had thousands of St. Charles and St. Peters under a boil and water conservation order.



Comment by Howard on September 17, 2013 at 4:38am

Well Rupture Spews 30-Ft Water-Methane Geyser for Days in Los Angeles (Sept 16)

A company that worked on burning gas wells in Iraq attempted to plug an abandoned well that was shooting water and methane 30 feet into the air for 4 days, prompting the evacuation of 37 homes.

The well, near Imperial Highway and Truro Avenue, continued to spew methane even after crews were able to stop the flow of water, authorities said.

Monday morning (Sept 16), the well-capping company blasted 208 barrels of high-pressured water into the well spout to try to stop the flow of water and methane.

Imperial Highway and the 105 Freeway — one of the main routes to Los Angeles International Airport — were shut down temporarily Monday while workers performed the dangerous operation of shutting down the geyser, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Brian Jordan.

Families will be allowed to return to their nearby homes once the well is capped and readings show no methane is escaping, Jordan said.

He had no estimate on when that would be complete.




Comment by Howard on September 5, 2013 at 5:42am

30 Meter Geyser in Auckland NZ (Sep 5)

Residents flooded by a burst water main on Auckland's North Shore sent water so high that one witness thought it was a tornado.

One witness said: "I thought it was a tornado. It looked like a huge fountain."

"Just the power of it is pretty impressive. You can see all the bollards out just from the pressure."

He said it was "shocking", and estimated the water was spewing 30 metres into the air.

A woman at a nearby shop said she the water main was still gushing water.

An electrician had been called in to assess the damage and insurers were on the way.

"The cause is still unknown," the spokeswoman said.

"Our crews are still there assessing the situation and trying to work out what happened."




Comment by Howard on September 4, 2013 at 5:16am

Water Main Explodes in Muncie Indiana (Aug 31)

The street in front of Cathy Carter’s house house turned into “Old Faithful’ around 8 a.m. on Saturday after a water main broke.

“Water was just shooting up like a fountain, causing sparks in the electric line,” she said. “It shot straight up into the power lines.”

“It looked like a geyser,” said Dan Beaty, who was working in a yard nearby.

Neighbors said the jet-like eruption exceeded the height of mature trees and the power lines.

It shot 50 to 60 feet in the air until we got it shut down,” said Indiana-American Water Co. spokesman Joe Loughmiller.

While water was being turned off, there was another break in the line on Morrison about 200 feet away.

It was the second major water main break in Muncie since July 20, when all five lanes of busy McGalliard Road were shut down near Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Texas Roadhouse and Cardinal Greenway. That break in an 8-inch, cast-iron main flooded and undermined both the eastbound and westbound lanes of the road.

And there was another major water main break on Sept 2 on Riggin Road near Walnut Street in the vicinity of the Delaware County Airport. That eruption shot water horizontally into a bean field.

Indiana Michigan Power shut off electricity in the area of the Morrison Road break on Saturday.

Denise Allen, owner of Wee Wisdom Nursery and Day Care Center on Morrison, was grateful she wasn’t open on Labor Day. Because of the loss of water and electricity, she would have had to send the children home.

“It was powerful,” Allen said of the eruption.



Comment by Howard on September 2, 2013 at 10:41pm

Wyoming Water Main Ruptures 3 Times, Creates 70-ft Geyser (Aug 31)
A 12-inch main water line near Riverton Country Club sprung a leak Saturday, not once, not twice, but three separate times.

The pipe’s first leak around 4 p.m. Saturday sent a geyser of water 70 feet into the air and city crews initially reduced the flow of the line to prevent the golf course from flooding and planned to fix it on Sunday.

Warpness and City Administrator Steven Weaver inspected the leak that afternoon. “The amount of potable water rushing out of the break didn’t make sense to us, and a resident had complained they had no water at all, so the decision was made to fix it that evening."

The mayor said he returned to the site at 9 p.m. and said the leak had been repaired, but another one occurred in the same line just 50 feet away. City crews fixed that leak on Sunday morning, but then a third blow out occurred. “With three leaks in one section of pipe, I think it’s a time bomb waiting to happen,” Warpness said. “There must be something in the soil there that is acting on the iron pipe.”



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