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Water main burst leaves 32 Concord households without water

  • City workers from the Concord Water Dept. attend to the water main break at the corner of South State and Perley streets Tuesday, April 22, 2014.
  • Water from the break is pumped out of the huge hole on South State street Concord on Tuesday, April 22, 2014.

Seated on a front porch on South State Street yesterday afternoon, Paul Dunbar had a clear view of city workers repairing the broken water main that left 32 households in Concord’s South End without water for much of the day.

Dunbar’s residence, at the corner of South State and Downing streets, was one of those affected because of the break at the intersection of South State and Perley streets. He said he got his water back about 3 p.m.

“I took a shower. I let it run for a few minutes, and it was clean,” he said as he leaned over the railing at Chuck’s Used Furniture and Flea.

Less than a block away, the city’s general services crews worked in bright-yellow shirts to backfill the work area and clear the road to reopen to traffic. The city had closed South State Street from Downing to Thorndike streets, and Perley Street from Grover to South Main streets.

“These guys have been out here all day, ’round the clock,” Dunbar said.

The 14-inch diameter cast-iron pipe burst overnight, said Chip Chesley, director of the city’s general services department. Police officers first saw water running on the street’s surface about 1:30 a.m. City workers then found a 2-foot-by-8-inch break in the pipe – originally installed in 1903 – and worked through the day to repair the leak, Chesley said.

He said the department will look into the cause of the break, as well as how much water might have spilled.

The city’s principal water source is Penacook Lake, which has a maximum yield of 3.2 million gallons per day. Concord’s average daily use is 4 million gallons, and the city uses the Contoocook River as an auxiliary source, Chesley said.

Some customers in Concord may have experienced loss of water pressure because of the leak.

On the porch with Dunbar was Pooch Burgos, who said he woke up at 4 a.m. yesterday and saw a flooded street.

“It was just one flat river from one side of the street to the other,” he said. “We were going to bring out the fishing poles and do some fishing. It was deep enough.”

From his third-floor apartment, Dunbar said he might have seen 3 feet of water, mud and rocks on South State Street.

“There were rocks and everything going down the road with the water,” he said.

A few blocks from Dunbar, Sue Branch of Concord sat on the steps of 28 Perley St., where she cuts hair at Plaza Beauty Salon. The salon had water at 7:30 a.m., Branch said, but the crews, which spent most of the day at the end of Perley Street, were a talking point for the 20 to 30 people who had appointments yesterday.

“Every one has had to park a little farther away, but it didn’t interfere with business at all,” she said.

(Iain Wilson can be reached at 369-3313 or iwilson@cmonitor.com.)

Legacy Comments1

The crew worked very hard from the early morning hours well into the late afternoon, thanks to all involved for getting our water back so quickly!

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