Update on Edmonds
What happens during a water main break?

The City’s Water Division is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the Water Distribution System. When emergencies arise, the Water Division has a series of procedures to follow to minimize disruption of the water supply and protect public health. Due to large amounts of water, main breaks are considered a matter of public safety. Often, a call comes from a citizen reporting unusual conditions. Water over the roadway is a common occurrence during water main breaks, as many of the City’s distribution systems are in the roadway. 

jackhammerIn the case of an 8” break on September 17, water ran over the roadway at the intersection at 9th Ave S & Pine St. The Water Maintenance Division’s response included an assessment determining the exact location of the main break under the road surface in an area with no other property or environmental damage. Traffic control measures were set-up to protect employees and the work site. Responses to questions and inquiries were offered to citizens and water customers in the affected area.

What considerations are made when making the repair?

1.  Minimize the length of time required to make the repair

2.  Control sources of contamination

3.  Whenever possible, maintain service to the customers

pipe patch

During the event on September 17, main valves were partially closed to isolate the damaged section of the main. The flow was throttled-down to maintain positive pressure in the main (maintaining positive pressure minimizes further damage and protects the water supply from contamination). The repair included the installation of a repair band placed over the broken section of 8” pipe. With the repair made, the isolated water service area was returned to normal. The excavation was backfilled and temporary patching placed on the road surface. After the removal of traffic control signs and cones, traffic flow was returned to its normal pattern.

The City’s water main distribution system is typically situated under the road surface on public streets. If you see water coming up in the roadway, on public property, or adjacent to the street edge near a water meter, please call Public Works Operations Center at 425-771-0235. Afterhours and weekends, report the conditions by calling 911.

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