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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