Broken water main puts boil-water order on Ellsworth neighborhood

Posted Feb. 26, 2013, at 1:42 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 26, 2013, at 6:49 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A roughly 50-year-old water main broke early Tuesday morning in Ellsworth, closing at least one business and causing the city to issue a boil-water order for a residential neighborhood in the city.

Though the ruptured pipe was repaired by Tuesday afternoon, the boil-water order won’t be lifted until Wednesday afternoon, at the earliest.

City Manager Michelle Beal said the freezing and melting frost had driven a rock through an old pipe, causing a rupture. City law mandates a boil-water order be issued if a break cannot be repaired without shutting off water to the main.

“It was a pretty good-sized break,” she said Tuesday evening. “It split the pipe pretty good.”

The boil-water order is in effect for residences along Dean Street, between Hancock and High streets. The order affects Denny’s on High Street, as well as The Meadows, a senior housing apartment complex on Edgewood Way.

Beal said a water sample had been sent to a laboratory in Brewer for bacterial testing. If its cleanliness is confirmed, the boil-water order can be lifted. Beal said the earliest that would happen is 2 or 3 p.m. Wednesday.

A call to Denny’s confirmed that the business is closed until water pressure is back up to normal, and the decision to reopen will be up to the restaurant’s corporate offices.

There are about 20 homes in the area affected by the boil-water order, Beal said, and each resident has been notified. Residents are instructed to use only bottled water or water that has been boiled for at least five minutes.

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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