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City crews rushed to water line break in Douglas

Posted: July 20, 2012 - 5:19pm  |  Updated: July 21, 2012 - 11:01pm
Loni Van Kirk of the city's water utility was the first on scene to shut the water off after a water main break on Great Western Street in Douglas on Friday.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Loni Van Kirk of the city's water utility was the first on scene to shut the water off after a water main break on Great Western Street in Douglas on Friday.

A ruptured water line left about 50 people in Douglas without water Friday afternoon, a city official said.

City officials responded to reports of flooding in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Great Western Street off of Crow Hill Drive around 1:30 p.m.

Witnesses says the water gushed from an inclined spot in the asphalt for about 15 minutes, creating a small waterfall, before stopping. The asphalt caved in.

No property damage was initially reported as the water stopped and pooled at the edge of the sidewalk in front of the apartments.

Superintendent of the City and Borough of Juneau’s Water Utility Department David Crabtree said the cause of the break is unknown at this point.

“Once we excavate, we’ll have a better idea of what happened and what the cause of the failure was,” he said on scene.

The line is connected to the water main and led straight to the apartment complex. It’s a dead-feed system, Crabtree said.

“Everybody on Great Western down to Creek Street is going to be out of water right now,” he said.

How quickly the water will turn back on depends on the severity of the break, Crabtree said. He said it could take a minimum of four to five hours.

This is the third time the line has broken on Great Western Street in the past year, and many times before that. The city replaced the old duct-lined pipe with new plastic PVC piping nearly a year ago, but to no avail.

“This is brand new so we need to figure out what’s going on, why this water system is failing,” Crabtree said.

“It’s not the way we intended to start the weekend,” he added.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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