AUGUSTA — About a dozen customers were without water for several hours Friday morning after a main broke on Columbia Street amid bone-chilling temperatures.

The break and subsequent flooding were reported around 7:30 a.m. in the area of 18 Columbia St., which runs parallel to State Street and is accessed from Union Street.

Brian Tarbuck, general manager for Greater Augusta Utility District, said crews were working to drain water from the area and gain access to the break. He said the break could be repaired by about 2 p.m. Friday.

Around noon, Tarbuck said crews found a “couple holes” in the top of the pipe as well as “a few pinholes.” He said the pinholes were likely caused by stones in the soil moving as part of the initial break.

He said about a dozen residential houses were affected, but nearby state government buildings are fed through another pipe. The Wastewater Treatment Plant was without drinking water, Tarbuck said.

Tarbuck said the main that broke would be repaired as part of a project that is out to bid on the utility district’s website. He said the pipe is “sub-standard” and has a history of breaking.

Factors in Friday’s break were the pipe’s condition and cold weather, which Tarbuck said may have forced frost deeper into the road. Temperatures started out well below zero Friday morning and hovered in the single digits by 9:30 a.m. Tarbuck said warmer temperatures around noon assisted in the repair.

Augusta Police Department tweeted that traffic is impacted in the area of the break and to avoid using Columbia Street.

 


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