A major water line break on Offnere Street left many Portsmouth residents with little or no water pressure on Wednesday.
“It affected basically anyone west of the water filtration plant,” water director Sam Sutherland said.
The filtration plant is on U.S. 52 near the New Boston/Sciotoville border.
The break occurred around 2 p.m. at the junction of a 24-inch and 30-inch water line behind where the Oberling Chrysler dealership once stood.
The line is a key line in the system because it runs directly to the water tower on Sunrise Avenue.
The city closed off streets near the incident, which caused a breaking of the pavement on Offnere.
Besides the main break area, a large crack in the pavement ran across Offnere Street.
Sutherland said those in the hilltop section would not be affected by the break because a sub pump sends water there.
“But the low-lying areas are seeing it,” he said. “West Portsmouth may also have some problems.”
Sutherland said did not know how long it would take to repair the break. But he expected crews to work into Wednesday night. Water was restored to most areas of the city after 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
Sutherland said water line breaks are common this time of the year.
That's because as the ground gets warmer, it can shift. If the earth hits a line just right, it can break it.
However, Sutherland did not yet know the cause of Wednesday's break, but said the temperature could have played a part in it.
Sutherland is responsible for fixing the break and getting water flowing normally again.
The city service department will then take over and repair the damage to the street.
Paula Duncan, of the Portsmouth City Schools System, said schools are expected to open today. However, she advised students and parents to listen to local radio stations to make sure that hasn't changed.
“There will be a 48-hour boil advisory,” Duncan said. “But we will have water for the students and the toilets will flush. We'll provide bottled water to students if we have to or get barrels of water we have stored in Sciotoville.”
JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.