Nearly $1M to fix water line behind largest outage in Dayton’s history

Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 @ 11:07 AM

SKY7: Aerial View of bridge and River

Dayton will spend $863,000 to fix a water main that broke in February, causing the largest outage in the city’s history.

The Feb. 13 water main break was nearly catastrophic, resulting in about 150 million gallons of treated water to flow into the river.

The massive loss of water caused outages for some customers and prompted the city to issue a precautionary boil advisory in case the water was contaminated.

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For weeks after the break, city officials said they were unable to evaluate the line because the water level was too high to make a visual inspection, city officials said.

But earlier this month, the Dayton City Commission approved a payment to repair the water transmission line.

“The area has to be sectioned off for a coffer dam, then it needs to be de-watered, then repairs can ensue,” said Water Department director Michael Powell.

Citing security issues, Powell would not say where the break occurred. He said city residents will not have to pay extra on their bills to pay for the break.

MORE: ‘Nearly catastrophic’ break a glimpse of vulnerabilities to area’s water

City officials said the water main break in the late afternoon of Feb. 13 was “unprecedented.”

“A water pipe break of this size could not have been anticipated and based on its location in the river was extremely difficult to find. The amount of water lost is close to four times our daily distribution to the entire system,” said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

About 2.5 million gallons of water gushed from the line within the first 10 minutes of the break.

Customers across the city and parts of the county had water outages or problems with water pressure. The city issued a water boil advisory that lasted until the morning of Feb. 15.

Crews did not even discover the location of the break until the early morning hours of Feb. 14.

Officials said it was difficult to find because the line was in the river, which was elevated because of wet and snowy weather.

The city said testing found all water samples to be free of bacteria and the water quality was never compromised as a result of the break. .

The location of the break was isolated by closing existing existing in-line valves, meaning water can flow around the break but not through it, said Toni Bankston, a city spokeswoman.

Crews were unable to inspect the water line because of continued high river levels.

The Datyon commission has approved a payment order to Sunesis Construction Company to repair a 36-inch concrete high-pressure water main in the Great Miami River.

Powell said the city water department handles 200 main breaks a year. He said the city is working on new technology for early warnings of problems, especially in lines near or under the river.