Several of the bolts holding together two sections of 50-year-old water main were broken causing the 12-inch pipe to leak. The crew replaced all the bolts that joined the two sections of pipe stopping the leak.
West Main Street water leak repaired
A city work crew using a high-pressure water wand, a high volume vacuum, a sensitive microphone system with a magnetic mount, and hand tools, repaired the leaking flange that connected two approximately 50-year-old iron water main pipes beneath West Main Street.
The leak became more severe the last couple of months. Recent tests on the water percolating to the surface showed chlorine and fluoride which indicated it was leaking from a water main. Earlier tests failed to show the chemicals that are added to city water. The chemicals dissipate and dissolve making the early tests inconclusive.
Worried that the leak might become more severe during the holidays and before weather forecasts saying temperatures would fall below freezing next week, repairs began Thursday morning. A company hired by the city used special sensors to locate the leaks exact location.
The city crew then began cutting away the road surface and excavating around a natural gas line and a fiber-optic cable crossing the leak location.
Using a high-pressure water wand and a truck with a vacuum system design to clear clogged storm drains, the leaking water main was revealed about six feet below the road surface.
Water was leaking from the flange connecting two sections of the 50-year-old iron pipes. Several of the original bolts holding the sections together were rusted and broken allowing water to leak into the gravel-filled trench where the pipe was originally laid.
After replacing all the bolts on the flange and observing to see if there were any additional leaks in the pipeline, the city filled the hole with gravel then covered it with a steel plate until it could be covered with hot asphalt the next day.
West Main Street remained closed for most of Friday after a contractor laid hot asphalt into the road surface.
Normally the asphalt plant that supplies contractors is closed by this time of the year because the weather is too cold to bring the plant up to temperature. This year’s warmer temperatures extended the plant hours with it scheduled to close Friday.
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Editor's Note: The photo above is the barn on the Braun Farm at Cleveland and Cooper. It is one of the 50 Places To Photograph in Westerville.
Former newspaper and Associated Press photographer. Instructor at Westerville Center for Photography. Owns SmallTown Stock, the Reasonably Rights Managed stock photo agency. Founder and Director for The American Scene Project, a heritage project dedicated to exhibiting and preserving photography of everyday American life.