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Raleigh Water-Main Break Repaired

Posted January 28, 2008
Updated January 29, 2008

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— A water-main break inside the Interstate 440 Beltline was repaired late Monday night, stopping losses in a city already worried about its water supply.

The break happened at about 4:15 p.m. at the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Oberlin Road. Inbound lanes of Glenwood Avenue caved in, authorities said, as gallons of water gushed from beneath the street.

Utility crews caped the 8-inch main within an hour and began to fix the break.

"We were able to get the main shut down fairly quickly," said Andy Brogden, water distribution superintendent. "Then crews had to excavate to determine exactly where the main broke."

As with any breach in the water system, workers then must flush the repaired line and test for bacteria.

Ed Buchan, water conservation specialist with Raleigh's Department of Public Utilities, said about 200,000 gallons of water were lost before the break was contained.

"It is always unfortunate when you have a water loss any time of year, but especially when you are in a severe drought," Buchan said.

Levels in Falls Lake have dropped 8½ feet below normal, and officials believe Raleigh's normal allocation of water from Falls Lake, which serves as the city's primary reservoir, will last only until mid-May.

The water-main break forced Robert Blair to spend a few hours in his own personal drought. His water was turned off while the water-main break was repaired.

"I bought us some water. It won't be enough to shower, but enough to drink," he said.

Buchan said 12 feet of the 8-inch pipe was repaired by 10 p.m. and Glenwood Avenue was reopened in both directions. The hole in the road caused by the break was filled with dirt. It will be repaved sometime Tuesday.

Over the past month, there have been more than 50 pipe breaks in the Raleigh water system.

"Whenever we get in this weather pattern, we expect it and we know it is going to happen and we have crews on standby," Brogden said.

When the ground goes from cold to warm during the day, expanding and contracting soils can cause underground water lines to break. Some of the pipes workers were dealing with were 70 years old. However,  Brogden said, newer pipes also break in winter-time conditions.

The 200,000 gallons lost was a small fraction of the more than 40 million gallons that Raleigh water customers use in a day, Buchan said.

The last time there was a water loss of this magnitude was in November, when 500,000 gallons gushed from a break in a main under Avent Ferry Road.

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  • A1 Go Canes Jan 29, 2008

    "All these water breaks are designed for them to raise the cost of water bills. It's a shame governmental officials are doing this. With all these tax increase in this and that, why has these waterpipes not been inspected as they should. Who responsibility is it to insure inspection so such.

    Folk it is high time to hold officials responsibility for wasting tax payers money, so they can continue to have their perks."lilwil

    That statement is one of the most idiotic things I have ever read. Let's start with this: The City of Raleigh does NOT intentionally break water mains for any reason, especially to raise water rates. Please give me examples of how these mains were not properly inspected. It is kind of hard to inspect 50+ year old pipes under a main roadway, you cannot insert a camera in a pressurized waterline, what are your suggestions?
    The system is being upgraded and old lines are being replaced daily. It is a never ending battle. Don't forget we have water AND sewer lines to rep

  • wiseowl Jan 29, 2008

    i like how they say that the water loss is a "tiny fraction" of daily use - in actuality, its 5000 people-days of water. so yea, its a tiny fraction, but when we have this many people it does matter.

    makes it hard to want to put much effort forth conserving when you know this is going to happen time and time again.

  • lilwil Jan 29, 2008

    All these water breaks are designed for them to raise the cost of water bills. It's a shame governmental officials are doing this. With all these tax increase in this and that, why has these waterpipes not been inspected as they should. Who responsibility is it to insure inspection so such.

    Folk it is high time to hold officials responsibility for wasting tax payers money, so they can continue to have their perks.

  • Skywatch_NC Jan 29, 2008

    It's like the twilight zone ...all these main breaks.

  • TriangleMommy Jan 29, 2008

    "Over the past month, there have been more than 50 pipe breaks in the Raleigh water system."

    The water problem in Raleigh wouldn't be near as bad if so many millions of gallons hadn't been lost to all these water main breaks.

  • wolfpackjac Jan 29, 2008

    The City of Raleigh should fine themselves for breaking the watering laws.

    How about you replace some pipes that are 70+ years old. So much for being pro-active.

  • Space Mountain Jan 29, 2008

    This is getting absurd. Another example of the local leaders' poor planning with regards to our water system. The system needs to be upgraded, and the local leaders need to do something about the water supply and growth instead of just yelling about everyone conserving water.

  • TontoKozlowski Jan 29, 2008

    I hope Mayor meeker and his staff were taking showers and the Gov. was washing his motorcade in the fiasco!

  • baileysmom3 Jan 29, 2008

    i think that its time to repair those 50 year old waterlines. its been happening in durham, chapel hill, and raleigh for awhile, its just now making the papers because of the drought. cut consumption down, reduce building and put in parellel pipes.

  • OncomingStorm Jan 29, 2008

    Very informative- if you're one of the hundreds of people going to work on Glenwood in the morning. Is the road safe? Should I use an alternate route? Oh yes, very informative. I'll take Wade Avenue today just in case. Maybe a noon update will tell me something of actual use to my commute.

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