By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Subcontractors brave the 35-degree noon temperature Thursday to install an insertion valve to isolate the area around a significant water main leak cascading water down the hillside into the parking lot at Walmart, so the hole can be plugged. The leak caused the closure of businesses up and down Main Street on New Year’s Eve.
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–Ringing in the new year was a little bumpy for businesses on Main Street in Gun Barrel City.
A water leak at an elbow connection on a 12-inch main proved difficult to isolate and harder to fix.
Detected at 1 p.m. New Year’s Eve just east of Walmart, the leak ended up closing down most all the restaurants in the city.
“It affected everyone,” East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District Manager Bill Goheen told The Monitor, Thursday. “What a way to come into the new year.”
Any shut off valve on the main that was installed more than 20 years ago was difficult to locate. “We couldn’t find the shut off valve,” Goheen said. “It must have been somewhere under the asphalt.”
By 5 p.m., the utility had to shut down the system and issue a boil water notice because it had lost significant water pressure.
Crews worked overnight to fix the leak and recharge the system.
“By 5 a.m., we were back up,” Goheen said. But it became evident that something had slipped by the repair crew or a new leak had opened up in the same vicinity.
New Year’s Day, water running down Main Street in front of Walmart told the story.
“We were able to maintain low water pressure through the system Wednesday,” Goheen said.
By Thursday morning, the utility had subcontractors on site installing an insertion valve on the east side of Walmart, next to Julio’s Restaurant. This valve type can be installed under pressure, so the system doesn’t have to be shut down, he explained.
Goheen suspects the leak occurred where two pipelines meet on a 90-degree angle. “The ground under one pipe shifted, and the other didn’t,” he said, resulting in a misalignment.
The sleep-deprived manager added Thursday, “This was the water leak from h–l.”
After the valve install and closure, Goheen expects the leak to be isolated and water pressure to be restored to normal. A repair crew will then work on fixing the misaligned pipes.
If all goes well with water quality tests from samples sent after the system recharged New Year’s day, he expected to lift the boil water notice at 3 p.m. on Friday. To check on the status of the boil notice, readers may go online to www.eastcedarcreek.net
“The utility appreciates the customers’ patience during this major main break and water outage and also all the positive comments made to the district after water was restored,” Goheen said.