Pipe break cuts water to Brewer neighborhood

Posted Feb. 17, 2009, at 8:28 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — Residents along North Main Street north of Indian Trail Park did not have water when they woke up Tuesday because of a massive break in the water main that feeds the area.

Brewer Water Department employees noticed a problem around 9:15 p.m. Monday when the water level at the Whiting Hill water tank began dropping fast, Superintendent Mike Riley said.

“That told us we had a leak,” he said. “Usually a big leak like this surfaces pretty quickly,” but that did not happen. “It was very difficult to track down” because the break occurred near a culvert and the water ran directly into it, draining into the river, Riley added.

Residents began calling early Tuesday, Riley said.

“Dispatch had 100 calls and we had close to that,” he said. “Mornings were disrupted. We’re doing everything we can to get it back on line.”

The 10-inch water main, which was found leaking near the entrance into the city park, was mangled, Riley said.

“Pipe was sheered right in two and had a hole in the top,” he said. “We’re cutting out a 6-feet section and replacing it, and adding a valve to help isolate things like this in the future.”

The problem is a recurring one this winter because of the recent fluctuating temperatures, Riley said.

“This is like the 10th one we’ve had this winter,” he said. “There is about 4½ feet of frost in the ground. It creates ground movement and it puts a lot of pressure on the pipes.”

Bangor also has experienced water main breaks recently, with one last week that sent students at Fruit Street School home early and another in early February that shut off water to John Bapst Memorial High School and other customers on Broadway.

Weston Haskell, Bangor Water District’s assistant general manager and engineer, said the Broadway break also was the result of frost heaving.

After finally finding the Brewer leak, crews worked throughout the day to replace the pipe and get water flowing, Riley said.

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