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 23, 2013 at 5:56am

Ruptured UK Water Main Blows 100-Ft Geyser (Oct 22)

Shoddy editing from Daily Mail.

The high pressure water rocketed into the air in Malden Fields in Bushey, Hertfordshire - sending stones, litter and other debris sky high.

It blasted into the sky, before crashing to the ground - sending water gushing through the surrounding streets.

Resident Harry Jonson, 66, said he and his neighbours were told to stay indoors to avoid being injured by the enormous jet.

'We were told to stay indoors as the water was so powerful it was blowing rocks into the air.

'I've never seen anything like it before.'



Comment by Howard on October 16, 2013 at 3:56am

Ruptured Water Main Geyser in Houston Texas (Oct 13)

A large water main break in southwest Houston left residents in the area without water much of Sunday.

The water main break was reported around noon Sunday on Fondren and West Airport.

A city of Houston employee wasn't sure how many homes were affected by the water outage but said it was significant.

"It's a very large main that they're trying to repair," the city employee said.

Crews initially estimated it would take five hours to repair, but it ended up taking about 12 hours.

No additional details were released.



Comment by Derrick Johnson on October 11, 2013 at 9:38am

Water main break opens sinkhole on west side

 Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 8:55 pm | Updated: 7:23 am, Wed Oct 9, 2013.

A water main break early Tuesday opened up a 20-foot-long, oval-shaped sinkhole at Camino Sierra Vista and Oñate Place, released a river of water, disrupted traffic in the west-side neighborhood and left 50 homes without water while crews worked into the night to repair the problem.

Jennifer Trujillo said water began gushing through the break in the asphalt, filling the hole and running down the street starting at about 12:45 p.m. She said she was worried about her home’s foundation, although when she checked the basement in the afternoon it was not wet.

She was trying to figure out how to get out to collect her children, 14 and 16, from school — and how she was going to cook dinner without water. She said her father, who lives next door, had anticipated such a situation and filled some plastic bottles with drinking water.

Vicenta Trujillo, 84, used the opportunity to collect runaway water with a ten-gallon bucket and water her trees.

The water pulsed through the break under high pressure for about three and a half hours. The city’s emergency manager, Andrew Phelps, didn’t have an estimate of how much water was lost, but, “It was a lot.”

He said crews were able to shut the water off at about 4:10 p.m.

The homes left without water Tuesday evening were along Camino Sierra Vista between Salazar and Alarid streets. Phelps said it would take about another 12 hours to replace the section of water main that ruptured. He blamed the break on aging infrastructure.

Staff from the City Water Division, Public Utilities Department, Public Works Department, police, firefighters, New Mexico Gas and Public Service Company of New Mexico all responded to the emergency.

PNM was worried that the high volume of water might threaten a utility poll in the area and the company shut off power to about 140 homes in case it fell down. Phelps said power should be restored Tuesday night.

The high pressure and turbidity of the water pushed dirt and rocks around, loosening the base of the pavement, “creating a bridge where there should be no bridge,” Phelps said. The substructure of the road was washed away and water gushed through the cracks, Phelps said. The sinkhole measures about 20 feet long and 12 to 14 feet across.

The storm drains did their job, he added. Some water flowed past the first drains in the road, but at about the fourth or fifth drain, Phelps said, the road was fairly dry. He said there were no reports of flooding.

Phelps said there was a delay in shutting off water pressure because crews had a hard time finding the correct valve. When they did find the right one (near Alarid Street), it was hard to turn off because of the high pressure.

Phelps said city utility crews will assess where further work is needed on the water main. By Tuesday evening they had pumped the water from the sinkhole.

It typically takes 24 hours to restore water to residential pipes. Meanwhile traffic was being diverted. There also is some ongoing roadwork on St. Francis Drive between Mercer Street and Camino Sierra Vista.

Dolores Martinez, who lives right across from the sinkhole, said she and her husband, Ben, had both power and water because their house is not connected to the main that broke. She said the crawl space under their home was OK.

Standing outside surveying the scene, she said, “It’s the biggest mess you have ever seen. It’s like being in a sci-fi movie. It was unimaginable.”


Comment by Howard on October 10, 2013 at 3:09am

Massive Water Main Break Near Baltimore, Maryland (Oct 9)

Water shot from the ground, like a wall blocking the road.

"It looked like a geyser, just shooting over the trees.  You couldn't see beyond like on the other side of Putty Hill," said Kathy Fallon, who lives off Putty Hill Ave.    

It shot through the trees and nearly knocked out Putty Hill Park.  The pressure brought down tree branches and created a river on Putty Hill Ave., in between Perring Pkwy. and Old Harford Rd.

The hole in the busted water main is about a foot wide.  The water pushed off the storm drain cover and broke apart bricks underground. 

24-inch water main break is in the 2300 block of Putty Hill Avenue, and the road was closed from Perring Parkway to Old Harford Road.

Officials say the water pressure forcibly moved a slab of concrete and a manhole several feet.

“It did a lot of damage to the sidewalk."said Kurt Kocher, Baltimore City Department of Public Works.






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.



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