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Oakdale Public Works responded to an alarm on the morning of Sunday, December 3, 2017, alerting crews of a water system issue. A water main break was discovered under I-694 near 15th Street. Approximately 1.5 – 2 million gallons of water flowed out of the break, resulting in a washout between the southbound and northbound lanes on Interstate 694. Authorities closed the highway at approximately 9:15am on Sunday.
Many Oakdale residents experienced a loss of water pressure and system complications, and a total of 35 homes lost water service completely. Within five hours of discovering the broken main, system pressures recovered as tanks began to refill. As of December 4, 2017, only 10 homes remained without water. The City offered amenities to those impacted for personal needs, and it is estimated that water will be restored to the remaining homes by the end of day December 5.
Crews are actively working toward restoration and completion of the project, which includes full replacement of the damaged section of water main pipe. The site has been prepped and ready for the casement and the pipe has been delivered as of today.
“Now that we reached the point of the removal yesterday, we have been able to start evaluating the cause,” said Shawn Nelson, City of Oakdale Utility Superintendent. “Based on our findings, all joints, and casing appear to be in good condition. It appears that the pipe may have been leaking slightly prior incident, which could be due to several possible causes including movement in the ground, and roadway work.”
Nelson further explained that heaving that happens in the spring and fall due to the weather, which have caused cracks similar to the one pictured (not as long) that appear to possibly be from stress on the pipe. He also explained that it is possible that some of the road work that has happened over the years also attributed to the compensation of the pipe, citing problems with water main issues a few years after roadway reconstruction.
Age of the pipe is not a likely factor in the break, as the old water main was found to be in decent condition.