WATERVILLE — Underwater divers will be needed to repair a Monday morning break in a water main that runs beneath Messalonskee Stream, according to an official with the Kennebec Water District.

The break in the pipe prompted calls from Waterville residents reporting low water pressure and discolored water, Roger Crouse, the district’s general manager said Monday morning.

While the break has not been fixed yet, water service was restored to customers by 11:00 a.m., Crouse said. Crews have engaged isolation valves around the break, which occurred somewhere between Lafayette Street and North Riverside Drive, and water has been redirected to the affected area through redundancies in the pipeline. He said he was not sure how many customers had been affected.

The main can be off line for a week of two while crews work to repair it, Crouse said, but that will leave the system vulnerable if another main line breaks. A similar break took place underneath the stream last November, which required the assistance of contracted divers, Crouse said.

Crouse said it took more time than usual for the district to identify where the break was located as it was under water and not visible.

“It’s obviously more challenging to repair and it’s more expensive to do the work,” Crouse said, adding that a meeting was scheduled for Monday to strategize about how to best go about repairing the break.

“Our crews are very capable,” he said. “The system is in good hands.”

Crouse, who took over as general manager in February, said the break highlights the city’s need to replace the older pipe in the system. He said over the next nine to 12 months the district will be coming up with a master plan to determine where to invest dollars in replacing the pipe.

“Replacing pipe is expensive and it requires a real investment,” he said. The district will be reviewing how the replacement will impact rate increases as well as ways to offset increases in the next several months.

Emily Higginbotham — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @EmilyHigg

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