01/30/14 — City scrambling to fix broken main

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City scrambling to fix broken main

By John Joyce
Published in News on January 30, 2014 1:46 PM

A burst water main was the source of two rivers of water flowing down Beech Street and Lionel Street this morning in the wake of Tuesday's severe winter weather.

Residents say the main burst Friday and crews worked through the day Monday to repair it. It reopened Tuesday at about 9 p.m. amid the freezing rain.

Wednesday afternoon the water continued to flow.

"We called the City Public Works Department Friday at 2 p.m.," a resident speaking on the condition of anonymity said.

She said her call was met with a recording prompting her to then call Wayne County Communications. The dispatcher there transferred her back to public works and the cycle repeated itself.

However, she said, the dispatcher must have relayed the message.

No one ever returned her call, but a crew appeared Saturday spray painting the street around the leaking area.

On Monday, crews were working all day long, she said, with as many as six city vehicles lining the street.

"A man stood waist deep in the hole," she said.

Tuesday night, though, the main reopened and the torrent began again.

Because of the cold weather, the flowing water is not freezing, with a standing pool of water filling the drive of the residence at the far end of Beech Street just before a partially clogged drain.

More than one resident called the police Tuesday, the only city agency open, to report the flowing water.

"We called and they said they would send someone out. About two minutes later, the dispatcher called us back and said they had already been notified and that someone would be out when the weather broke," the resident said.

Today, the accidental spring and both rivers remain, but, Public Works is back on the scene attacking the problem.

"Actually, we fixed it Monday. The part we fixed is fine. The problem is (the main) busted again further down the line somewhere," Public Works Director Jose Martinez said.

All of his guys reported to work today and everybody has been "thrown at this one problem," he said.

Working in a waist deep hole filed with flowing water in temperatures hovering around 10 degrees is not easy, but his men are not complaining, he said.

"They are rotating guys in and out and once they get through there, we will probably be sending them home," Martinez said.