Busted water main creates void

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A Kilgore intersection erupted with muddy water Monday afternoon after a line ripped open under the roadway.

A steady torrent of water billowed up from the concrete and asphalt at Boone and Andrews for several hours while crews attended the water main break, and the City of Kilgore took the precautionary step of issuing a Boil Water Notice for surrounding residents.

The affected area is bounded by East Lantrip Street on the north, Parkview on the east, Hwy. 259 to the west and East North Street on the south side, Kevin Olson announced in a Monday evening release.

“It was about a 5-foot-long split at the bottom of the pipe where it had corroded over years,” according to Olson, the city’s utilities superintendent. A decades-old main, “Finally enough pressure off the 12-inch (main line) blew it open.”

The pressurized water quickly eroded a “substantial” void under the concrete as it flowed under the street and bubbled – in some spots geysered – up between joints, cracks and the soggy soil of a nearby yard.

Olson estimated the void at 12- to 14-feet-wide and as long as six or seven feet.

With the 5-inch line fixed and water flow restored, the patch is next: “We’re going to remove the concrete, clean up the edges, saw-cut the slab,” Olson said, then backfill the void.

The work will likely be completed by Wednesday afternoon.

“For the short-term we’ll probably put down an asphalt patch until we can determine how much of the water main we want to replace or need to replace.”

Reports of dirty water in washing machines and sinks prompted the water advisory.

“We took the precautionary step of doing a boil water notice for a limited area,” Olson said, “to be on the conservative side – normally we wouldn’t have to do that. Under the circumstances, we decided to get ahead of the whole thing.”

Affected residents should take precautions until they receive word the notice is lifted.

“To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes,” the city announced. “The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.

“In lieu of boil, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source…”

For more information, contact Olson at Kilgore City Hall at 903-988-4115.

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