Waterline blows 12-foot deep crater into 44th St.

Kent County
wyoming 44th street water main break repairs 121317_447583

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A busted water main is expected to keep a busy intersection in Wyoming shut down at least through the weekend.

The city restored water service to everyone in the area Wednesday evening. A boil water advisory for the area remained in effect.

Around 3 p.m. Tuesday, the 20-inch water main buried about 12 feet down blew a two-line wide hole in 44th Street at Burlingame Avenue. Since then, the Wyoming Department of Public Works has been doing its best to get that line fixed.

Assistant City Manager Megan Sall said Thursday that a lot of reconstruction needs to happen at the site.

Apartments to the west were without water for more than 24 hours.

“It is a huge deal in a way because if you’re used to getting water from the faucet and you can’t — that’s a huge deal,” said Valarie Stewart, a resident at Deer View Apartments just northwest of the break.

Stewart lived in one of the approximately 150 housing units on the northwest and southwest corners of 44th Street and Burlingame Avenue that lost water.

“It’s gonna be a little trying because we have to get a shower, we have to get a bath, we have to see about our neighbors to see if they are the right things that they need,” Stewart said. “I really think we really need to get the ball rolling on getting the water back on.”

While it seems the weather is the culprit, officials say the cold is just an uncomfortable coincidence.

“Generally this time of year, we don’t see weather-related water main breaks. No, this is old age, something wrong with the pipe, it’s time to fail so we know this pipe was put in in the mid-1960s so it was just it’s time,” Aaron Vis, assistant director for the Wyoming Department of Public Works, said. “A cast iron water main came apart, blew up and took out a couple lanes of 44th Street.”

What looks like a hole in the middle of 44th Street SW made by a backhoe is actually a crater.

“That 20-inch water main has a crack in there that’s about 10 feet and when that happens, the force of it kind of self-excavates that hole,” Vis said.

Because of the crack, 44th Street will be closed at Burlingame Avenue at least through the weekend until crews can refill and repave the road. To the south and north, 36th and 52nd streets are detour routes for those who need to get to businesses that remain open.

Only certain homes were affected, mostly apartments and condos in Deer View, Chateau Village and Timber Ridge developments.

“But we have so many wonderful people that can pull together to help each other and to look out for each other and that’s the best solution,” said Stewart.

The city is telling residents to boil their water for one minute before using it for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth or washing dishes — or use bottled water.

“This is not a bacteriological event or contamination event, this is more from water pressure loss from the break,” Vis said.

It is unclear how long the boil water advisory will be in effect, but it is expected to be for at least a few days. Crews have been working to repair the problem as heavy snowfall has come to West Michigan.

“The same guys that plow the roads are the same guys down there fixing that water main,” Vis said.

The conditions make miserable work on one of the coldest days of the year.

“Be thinking of these guys when they’re out here trying to get everybody’s water back up and running,” Vis said.

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