WATERVILLE — Workers early Tuesday evening were trying to fix a water main break at the entrance to Shaw’s Plaza off Kennedy Memorial Drive that prompted water service to be shut down in the plaza and up the street to and including J&S Oil and the doctors’ complex.

The water service is expected to be shut off for at least several hours as crews worked to fix the break, according to Roger Crouse, general manager of Kennebec Water District.

“They’re great — they’re just a fantastic crew,” Crouse said just before 5 p.m. “We’re fortunate to have a well-skilled team.”

The workers shut down water services to businesses at 4 p.m. but not before they went door-to-door to every business earlier to notify them of the impending shut-off, Crouse said.

Businesses that were without water service included Shaw’s supermarket, Applebee’s, Flagship Cinema and the mall across the street from the plaza.

Crouse said it was not clear exactly what caused the 12-inch pipe, installed in 1966, to break. Workers were excavating and trying to ascertain how big the break was and what caused it.

“We feel certain it’s a fairly good-sized break,” Crouse said.

The Water District learned of the break around noon as motorists entering or leaving the plaza called to report water was coming up through the pavement,  Crouse said.

The water district has about 170 miles of pipe in Waterville, Winslow, Vassalboro, Fairfield and Benton and the water they carry comes from China Lake.

The District pumps an average of 3 million gallons a day from the lake and has 9,000 customers, according to Crouse.

Tuesday’s water main break came five days after the Water District on Thursday fixed a water main break on Appleton Street near the Waterville Public Library. That also was a 12-inch pipe installed in 1966.

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