WINSLOW — The Kennebec Water District issued a notice Monday for customers in parts of Winslow to boil their tap water due to a water main break over the weekend.

Residents along Bay Street, China Road between Lithgow Street and Cushman Road and Cushman Road north of Norton Street were advised to boil their water for at least a minute before consumption, KWD wrote in a statement posted to its Facebook page.

Some people had no water coming from their taps, while others shared photographs on social media of yellow tap water.

KWD officials said the main ruptured Sunday and it might result in “low pressure, loss of water or discolored water.”

After the rupture was reported near the intersection of Bay and Halifax streets at about 1 p.m. Sunday, Paul Fongemie, director of the Winslow Public Works Department, said crews have been digging up, repairing and burying a new water main. Fongemie said water service is expected to be restored by Tuesday morning and the rupture’s cause will likely remain unknown.

“Trying to put a cause on it is actually pretty hard,” Fongemie said Monday. “(The pipes) just get older. Sometimes there might be something in the system that caused the pressure spike or stuff like that.”


Work to repair the water main caused traffic to be redirected around the intersection for most of Monday. Roger Crouse, KWD’s general manager, said as many as 100 residents were without water, and repair efforts were hampered by the coastal storm that brought strong winds and rain late Sunday and early Monday.

“It’s certainly complicated things with the rain,” Crouse said. “All the road runoff was going into the hole where we were trying to excavate and find our pipe. That just adds complications and slows things way down. Most (water) main breaks take three to five hours for a repair, and then we’re off site. In this case, we’re approaching 24 hours here to take care of everything.”

Jerry Combs, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said about an inch of rain fell in the Waterville and Winslow area, and wind gusts reached 43 mph.

“(The wind) really started picking up about four in the morning,” Combs said. “It was about 30 to 35 mph all the way through about 7 a.m. (Monday)”

The storm knocked out power to more than 31,000 homes and businesses across Maine, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a coastal flood advisory for York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox and Waldo counties.

Splashover, beach erosion and minor coastal flooding continued through Monday, according to the weather service.

The boil-water notice is expected to last through at least Tuesday morning, Crouse said, because KWD officials must send water samples to a lab for inspection before the water can be deemed safe to drink. Crouse said a sample analysis often takes about 18 hours.

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