Temperatures dipped into the single digits last Wednesday night as crews worked past midnight to fix a broken water main near Morris Creek on Armitage Street. According to Kelly Elser, Director of Public Works in Ennis, an eight-inch cast iron water main broke in half.
He has seen it happen before, where a pipe breaks in a full circle like it did last week. “If anything, it was caused by age,” said Elser, “or the movement of the ground.”
Due to the condition of some of the valves in town and the inability to completely shut the water off, the crews had to fix the leak “live”, with water spraying in their faces most of the time. And because of the location of the leak, the City contracted Aspen Construction to do much of the excavation. The pipe was deep, and the work had to be completed quickly.
“The main concern was whether the leak was under the culvert,” noted Elser. “That would have made it even more difficult.”
A majority of homes in the area were called and warned they would be out of water between 7pm and 10pm. However, most had water the entirety of the time due to the fact they were repairing the leak with the water on.
Elser has been with Public Works a little over five years, and has only seen a leak one other time. That one was an easier fix and he did not need outside help. According to Elser, in the last 15 years, there have been a total of four such leaks, including this last one. He says the occurrences are somewhat common.
For now, the problem is fixed.