City crews worked all day Monday to repair a water line break on Stewart Avenue that was called one of the largest in Clinton’s history, responsible for the loss of several hundred thousand gallons from the city’s system.
The extent of water loss — “easily 300,000 gallons,” according to city manager John Connet — did not result in lower water pressure throughout the citywide system even though one of the main tanks dipped dramatically. Water was shut off to 75 residences in and around Stewart Avenue, the site of the break discovered early Monday morning, as crews work to fix the damage.
Stewart Avenue was closed from West Cutchin Street to Nicholson Street at 7 a.m. Monday, and remained closed well into the afternoon.
“We put up signs closing the street,” Connet said Monday. “We have close to 75 properties (without water). We lost a good bit of water and they’re trying to get it pumped out of where the break is so they can fix it. It’s going to be pretty much the whole day, into the afternoon.”
The break is the second in the city in less than two months, as a separate line on North Boulevard was the site of a similar incident in mid-December. At that time, the city manager said quick changes in temperature tend to expose weaknesses in water lines. Monday, he said weather again was likely the culprit.
“It just depends on weather and law of averages,” Connet said of the frequency of breaks. “We typically don’t have this large of a break, but sometimes it happens. This typically happens on smaller lines and we’ve gotten lucky (with previous breaks). This is a 12-inch line and one of the larger lines. Sometimes the law of averages catches up with you.”
The city’s Bunting Street tank got very low in the wake of the break, however the ill effects of the break past Stewart Avenue were not felt across the city.
“The Bunting Street tank went low,” Connet said, “but all wells are pumping and there was no loss of pressure or water. We’re filling that tank now.”
The level of the tank was said to be a sign that the break likely happened sometime Sunday.
“I’m just speculating, but judging from the amount of water lost it likely had been going on all night,” he said.
December’s break on North Boulevard was followed by a boil water advisory as a precautionary measure. Similar notices for affected residents and those in the surrounding area are anticipated in light of the Stewart Avenue incident.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.