North Hill Road resembled a raging river Wednesday morning, thanks to a water main break near Sandstone Drive.
The break occurred sometime during the early morning hours and sent gallons of water bursting through the pavement.
“That line is connected to the Sunrise water tower, so it's pretty strong,” water director Sam Sutherland said.
By late morning, workers had stopped the water flow. But the intersection of North Hill and Sandstone was still a muddy mess.
Nearby residents with little or no water pressure are advised to boil their water until further notice.
Sutherland said it's hard to say how much water is released in a water main break. But the length of time for one to be reported and the break's size are contributing factors.
Workers spent much of Wednesday repairing the water line, which Sutherland said is only about 20 years old. Some other city water lines are much older than that.
The process for repair includes shutting off the water to the affected line, removing and replacing the damaged section and flushing the line of any debris. It usually takes only a few hours to fix.
City street crews will repair the damage to the road once the water department finishes its work, service director Chris Murphy said.
Sutherland blamed the cold weather for the break.
“It was just a cold snap,” he said. “And as things warm up, we'll probably have more breaks. As it gets colder and warmer, the ground expands and contracts. If there's a water line in the way, it's going to break. It can wreak havoc if the conditions are right.”
Unfortunately, there is no way to predict when a water main break may occur, Sutherland said.
JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.