GARDINER — Some city properties are without water after a witness said an excavator struck and broke a water main in the area of Bridge Street.

Aaron Harris, the owner of the A1 Diner who provided video of the break to the Kennebec Journal, said he noticed the issue around 9:45 a.m. Thursday when he came into work. He said he watched a man in an excavator scramble out of the machine after hitting the pipe. He said the pipe was “knocked loose” and spraying water. He said it was adjacent to the restaurant at 3 Bridge St.

Maine Department of Transportation spokesperson Paul Merrill confirmed that the boom of an excavator being operated by a worker from McGee Construction, a subcontractor of Reed & Reed Inc., hit and broke the pipe at 9:32 a.m. Thursday morning.

Merrill said there will be no additional cost to the state for cleanup and any costs for damages would be paid for by McGee Construction. He said damages were estimated between $5,000 and $10,000.

Around noon, crews were working on the pipe, which is suspended under the bridge and had a large pool of water forming underneath it as it spewed water.

Harris said the diner’s water was shut off, forcing it to close until it was back on. The Gardiner Food Co-op, at 269 Water St., had running water, according to manager Tiger Marion.

Workers pump water from a construction site beneath the Bridge Street bridge Thursday in Gardiner. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

An employee from The Bench, at 418 Water St., said the bar was without water for a short time, but it came back on within a couple of hours.

Gardiner Public Works Director Tony LaPlante said the main “feeds out towards” Gardiner Regional Middle School. By mid-afternoon the pipe was fixed, LaPlante said.

Gardiner Water District Superintendent Paul Gray said 13 customers lost water while the pipe is being repaired. He said “quite a few” other properties in the area of downtown lost water pressure.

Gray said those 13 customers would have boil water orders as a precaution while the district collects and tests water samples. He anticipated those boil water orders to be lifted Saturday.

LaPlante said the water main was struck by equipment being used to replace the bridge on Bridge Street as part of MDOT’s work to improve transportation in the city.

Merrill said the main was going to be replaced during the course of the work on the bridge, but Thursday’s break was not related to that job.

Merrill said the break cost workers a day of work while they waited for the pipe to be fixed and the water to run off of Arcade Street. Merrill said no one was injured in the incident.


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