Local News

Geyser from broken main floods Raleigh streets

Posted July 23, 2008

— A water main break in downtown Raleigh sent about 200,000 gallons of water shooting into the air and forced several streets to close for much of the day.

Wilmington Street, between Martin and Davie streets, was closed until about 3:30 p.m. as crews rushed to pump water out of a flooded parking deck nearby.

"It was going for an hour and a half, shooting 25 feet. It was like Old Faithful," said Mary Floyd Pag, a resident at The Hudson condominium complex across the street.

Residents at The Hudson had to move their cars after the parking lot flooded. Many reported power outages – the main circuit box to the building is in the garage – and low water pressure.

"The power went out in the building, but I went downstairs. There was a foot, a foot-and-a-half of water in the garage already, and we rushed to get our cars out," said Nathan Singerman, vice president of The Hudson Homeowners Association.

"One of the last people who pulled their car out, they said it was high enough to move the car," Pag said.

Since the 12-inch main was new, public utilities crews said they didn’t have a map of the line, making it hard to find the cutoff point.

The break happened around 4:30 a.m. and crews were able to shut off the water main just before 6 a.m. The line was capped by noon as crews worked to repair the damage.

Andy Brogden, water distribution superintendent for Raleigh's Public Utilities Department, said it was unclear how the main ruptured since no one was doing any construction work in the area at the time. He said metal fatigue might have caused the line to fail and rupture.

Although officials said underground utilities work at the nearby RBC Plaza wasn't to blame, the developer of the high-rise, Highwoods Properties Inc., offered free rental cars to people whose cars were damaged and offered to pay for hotel rooms at the Sheraton Capitol Center downtown for residents left without power.

Highwoods also lined up a portable generator to help restore power to The Hudson.

"They've been incredible," Singerman said.

The flooding caused some stores nearby to miss out on morning business.

"I lost the morning traffic, and I lost a couple of vendors," said Taz, who owns a Wilmington Street convenience store. "That's OK. That's what neighbors are for. We all have to be understanding."


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  • ncscoop Jul 28, 2008

    Below is a link to some exclusive footage that NCScoop gathered while on the scene of the water main break. Hope you enjoy!


  • TheAdmiral Jul 24, 2008

    Two things here:

    1. The city should not have codes. The state should have codes in which everyone must abide by that are reviewed by engineers once a year. Why? Parking Deck Collapses in Charlotte from codes that ate away at the engineering of the buildings; water mains exploding; buildings faces falling off.

    2. Under the current law - who is going to fine Raleigh for loosing all of that water.

    3. If you want to alleviate the problem of water in the lake - you have to stop having retention ponds for every building in the city. The water sits there and becomes a health hazzard.

  • packfan252258 Jul 23, 2008

    Yes pipe was laid on approved bedding, it was rodded and blocked with 3000psi concrete, Pressure test was conducted and passed, reports filed out daily, backfilled and compacted in 6" lifts! happy? Besides that was not the problem as stated before, it was the vertical 12" BO, the 90 at the bottom which was blocked stayed put, An eye Bolt popped open, the rods twisted and that was all she wrote

  • ThisIsMyName Jul 23, 2008

    Those folks in Raleigh... wasting water again.

  • giffman Jul 23, 2008

    If the contractor is reponsible for the waterline break than the contractor will be responsible for the cost of lost water.

  • Tired_of_LIBERALS Jul 23, 2008

    Is the contractor responsible for the cost of the water loss?

  • usharrisons Jul 23, 2008

    This type of explaining: Why would a new waterline rupture without being acted upon by an outside force? Was the proper bedding used? Was the line properly pressure tested when installed? Where there any noticeable leaks? Was there a report generated from this inspection? Was there proper thrust blocking placed at all bends? Was the concrete used a minimum compressive strength of 3000 psi? Was there proper rodding used on all branch ties? Was backfill placed in layers and properly compacted?

    The story states that there was no construction activity in the immediate area at the time. New pipes suffering from "Metal fatique" indicates that the pipe had mechanical action; water hammer. And, believe me, if all Raleigh employees react the way you do, I'll stay put.

  • packfan252258 Jul 23, 2008

    The Contractor that installed the new line, made the repairs first thing this morning.

  • davidkresge1 Jul 23, 2008

    The Triangle area has had quite a few of these water main breaks over the past year it seems. Or maybe they just get more press attention now. I hope the tax payer don't have to pay for the repairs. The company that installed the line should be held responsible.

  • foetine Jul 23, 2008

    maybe this is just part of the People's Living Room - although this would be the People's Bidet