Minneapolis crews restore water via temporary piping

  • Article by: CHRIS HAVENS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 6, 2013 - 10:45 PM

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Water service was restored Sunday to Minneapolis businesses and residences whose faucets went dry after a main water line ruptured and spewed 14 million gallons of water onto downtown streets last week, officials said.

The water was restored using temporary piping because work crews are still having trouble repairing the main pipe, city officials said Sunday afternoon.

The restoration came more than 12 hours ahead of the timeline officials estimated Saturday. Crews are still working to fix the main pipe, and a backup system of temporary lines from fire hydrants was put in place for the six buildings that have been without water since the main broke on Thursday.

"Things are looking pretty good," Steve Kotke, Minneapolis public works director, said Sunday.

The buildings to receive the temporary water service are on 2nd Avenue N., between 3rd Street N. and Hennepin Avenue.

"It's been one of those weekends," said Pat Wright, a resident in the 200 block of 2nd Avenue N. who has been scrounging for water since Thursday. "They're outside right now working."

Wright said his water was restored about 8:35 p.m. Sunday. The rest of the buildings had water restored less than an hour later.

The city estimates it should take 24 hours to test the water to make sure it's drinkable, and city officials advise anyone in the buildings who wants to drink the water to boil it first.

City officials will notify people when the water is safe to drink. Kotke said people can do laundry, bathe or shower immediately.

The water main broke about 2:30 p.m. Thursday on N. 2nd Street at Hennepin Avenue at the construction site for a $70 million retail-apartment complex that will include a Whole Foods Market.

Kotke said Sunday that the city believes the break occurred as a subcontractor for Ryan Cos., which is building the complex, was boring under the street to install a sleeve for a sewer line linking the new building to the city's sewer system. The machinery hit the water pipe, he said.

Most streets in the area have been reopened. Two blocks of southbound Hennepin Avenue are closed, from 1st Street to Washington Avenue. A block of 2nd Street N., between Hennepin and 1st, also is closed.

There's no timetable on when the closed blocks will reopen. Public Works will re-evaluate the street situation after rush hour Monday morning.

Cost of the damage is still undetermined. Kotke said the lost water alone cost $65,000. Insurers are expected to pay some of it, and the city plans to seek reimbursement for its clean-up and repair from the contractor, Kotke said.

Staff writer Heron Marquez Estrada contributed to this report. Chris Havens • 612-673-4148

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