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 July 4, 2013 at 6:29am

Yet Another Water Main Break in Dallas Texas (July 3)
A water main break early Wednesday morning sent water cascading 50 feet in the air on 8600 block of Skillman Street.



Comment by lonne rey on July 2, 2013 at 10:48am

7ft Water main burst, Dallas

A water main measuring seven feet in diameter ruptured early Monday morning near White Rock Lake. The break happened just before 5:00 a.m. in the 2800 block of West Lawther Drive, near White Rock Road, and caused massive headaches for neighbors and drivers in the area.

“It’s a very important pipeline,” said Randy Payton with the City of Dallas. The 84-inch pipe transmits drinking water from the southern portion of Dallas to the northern parts of the city. It is the third largest pipeline in Dallas, and had been operating for around 30 years. It is still unclear what caused the pipe to rupture.

This was the second water main break in Dallas in just over 24 hours, and the third break in the past week. Tarrant County and Collin County have also been battling water main breaks in the past week.


Comment by Howard on June 27, 2013 at 4:24am

Powerful Water Main Rupture Blows Roof off Texas Home (June 26)

A rupture in a water main sent a high pressure geyser rocketing toward a Fort Worth home Tuesday night. It blew out windows, tore off the roof and flooded the house with up to a foot of water.

The break left as many as 70 homes without water Tuesday night. Asphalt and rock littered the front yard of the home in the 3600 block of Walton Avenue. 

Homeowner Ann Spencer was inside when the line broke, and said the water hitting her home sounded like power lines snapping in a storm. She ran outside though when her ceiling started to cave in.

“I went out the patio door and it almost knocked me over, coming over the house in the backyard,” she said.

Spencer and her boyfriend Norm Green said the geyser sprayed the home for up to 45 minutes before city crews were able to turn the water off.

“Everybody was just looking in awe, you know,” Green said. “There was nothing you could do.”




Compilation video that also includes footage of a North Dallas water main break that occurred on June 24.

Comment by Howard on June 25, 2013 at 6:12am

Burst Water Line Creates Large Geyser Near Salt Lake City (June 24)

An estimated 500,000 gallons of water exploded out of a building in Riverdale Monday afternoon.

The water flowed up through the roof of the building, creating a geyser 50 to 60 feet high.

A piece of carbon steel pipe flew across the room and damaged a hypochloride tank.

The coupling burst shortly before 12:30 at a building near 4550 S 700 W. The building sits atop a deep ground water well, one of 18 in the in the district.

Brad Nelson, Drinking Water Manager for Weber Basin Water, said the water flowed for about 30 minutes and caused an estimated $500,000 in damage.

Nelson said the coupling probably failed due to a combination of time and pressure.

The facility takes drinking water straight from a well, chlorinates it and sends it to customers, Nelson said.

"We've run this well station for 10 years without any problems," he said.

Nelson said he doesn't know yet what caused the coupling to fail and that it could take up to eight weeks to repair the station.




Comment by Howard on June 19, 2013 at 4:00am

Massive Water Main Break in Louisiana (June 15)

The scene in Shreveport's Allendale neighborhood Saturday resembled a virtual ocean spewing from a burst water main on Kenneth Street, near Andrew and Dunlap Streets.

One of the casualties was a home located at 1312 Andrew Street, which became partially submerged as the gallons flowed from the broken main toward the home.

"The house was just ruined."

The renter, who chose not to show his face on camera, says the rush of water was unlike anything he'd ever seen.

He says his children's clothes, shoes, books, and anything that was near the floor was completely covered in water.

"Floors are ruined. I'm finding out that electrical, some of my outlets are ruined."

Directly next to the water main, stands 114-year-old Saint Mary Baptist Church. It's basement quickly filled with about 5 to 7 inches of water.

"I've seen water mains bust before but nothing like this," says church board member, Don Ellis, Sr.

That's because this particular main was a transmission main, a 24-inch pipe that transports large amounts of water from one section of the city to another.

That cast iron main has since been replaced with updated PVC pipe.

"We've been getting things, couplings that fit, that would work, that would keep it from leaking," says Barbara Featherston, Interim Director of Water & Sewerage Dept.



Comment by Howard on June 19, 2013 at 3:46am

Water Main Rupture Blows Geyser in Kansas (June 18)

Water was gushing about 30 feet into the air Tuesday morning outside of Nebraska Furniture Mart in Kansas City, Kan.

A water main apparently broke on Prairie Crossing, between Parallel and Village West parkways on the western side of the giant furniture store.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the water main to burst or if any nearby businesses were affected.

The KCK Board of Public Utilities was looking into the break.



Comment by Howard on June 8, 2013 at 7:45pm

Three Water Mains Rupture in Vallejo, California (June 6)

Nearly simultaneously, water mains burst at Solano Avenue and Mariposa Street, at Webb Street and Pearl Court, and at Elliott and Dillon drives around 4 p.m in Vallejo.  In all, about 40 homes were affected. 




Comment by Howard on May 31, 2013 at 9:18pm

Massive Water Main Break Floods Detroit Streets, Forces Rescue (May 30)

A 42-inch water main break flooded several streets Thursday morning along the river and forced firefighters to make a rescue in Detroit.

It happened near Jefferson and Rosa Parks Boulevard, not far from the post office.

The streets flooded so severely, a man who was fishing along the river had to be helped out of the water by fire crews.

He wasn't injured.

The Detroit Water Department says a 42 inch pipe burst, causing the problem.  Water was being shut off at that main to stop the gushing of water. 

The entire repair job is expected to take up to five days.




Comment by Howard on May 31, 2013 at 8:59pm

Major Water Main Break Floods Denver Neighborhood (May 30)

A 24-inch water-main ruptured near Interstate 25 and 15th Street Thursday evening, causing mayhem. Water was pouring down from the 15th Street bridge onto I-25, reducing the southbound lanes. Traffic was backed up for miles.

Water was also flooding parts of West 29th Avenue and seeping into homes and businesses along the street.

Many residents in the area are without water.

Approximately seven blocks on 29th Avenue between Federal Boulevard and Vallejo Street are without water.

Denver water says approximately 40 residential units including one apartment building and three commercial buildings are without water on 29th Avenue between Federal Boulevard and Umatilla Street during the repairs.

They are currently delivering bottled water to customers impacted by the water outage.

29th Avenue remains closed between Zuni Street and Wyandot Street and will remain closed until repairs are complete.

It's not known what caused the water main to break.

Crews say cleanup and repairs to the street may take days due to the size of the rupture.



Comment by Howard on May 28, 2013 at 7:44pm

Water Main and Electrical Pipe Breaks Create Hazmat Situation in New Jersey (May 28)
Fire authorities and utility crews are working to contain a potentially hazardous mixture that bubbled up in some streets in a New Jersey town after a water main and an underground electrical pipe containing mineral oil ruptured Tuesday morning.

John Mauthe, fire chief in Bergen County's River Edge, said the mineral oil is used to cool the electrical pipe, which transmits more than 200,000 volts of electricity between substations.

When that pipe broke, the mineral oil combined with the water spilling from the broken water main to send a hazardous ooze up into the streets, Mauthe said.

Crews are using sand and dirt to soak up the oily mix and authorities urge residents to avoid the liquid in the streets. Mauthe said most of the mixture was contained to the streets, but some did seep into the sewers.

Some roads were blocked off Tuesday morning and authorities said they may remain closed throughout the day as hazmat teams assess the scene and Department of Public Works crews repair the pipes.



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