- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - A broken water main in Dubuque has spilled 3.3 million gallons of water, the largest amount leaked in the city in at least 24 years.

Brant Schueller, the city’s water distribution supervisor, tells the Telegraph Herald (https://bit.ly/1Zcg7Hw ) that crews responded to the break around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The city issued a boil advisory for drinking water nine hours later because of potential bacteria contamination. Officials say residents shouldn’t drink the water or use it to prepare food. The advisory runs until 3 p.m. Thursday.

The impacted areas of downtown Dubuque, the Port of Dubuque and properties in the area of Central Avenue and Rhomberg Avenue contain about 5,500 water customers.

Some residents expressed concerns about the city’s approach to notifying residents of the potential risks. William Henson, a general manager at a local coffee shop, said he found out about the advisory from a friend and that he still hadn’t been contacted by the city hours after it was issued.

“What I’m most concerned about was not hearing from the city at all,” Henson said. “I’m upset about that.”

Schueller said that the leak in the 20-inch diameter transmission main was initiated by a joint that pulled apart. The cause of the burst is still being determined, but staff thinks it could have been related to nearby construction.

Schueller said water was shut down at about 3:15 a.m. in a five-block area around the break. The Park Hill standpipe servicing area experienced a pressure drop because of the size of the main, which opened the possibility of a bacterial contamination.

Crews started repairing the main at 6 a.m. and completed it by 5 p.m., Scheuller said. City officials couldn’t estimate how much the repair work or water loss cost.

Schueller said the five-block area without water was scheduled to have water service shut off Tuesday in connection to the nearby construction.

“It just came a little earlier and unexpected,” he said.


Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com

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