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City of Mitchell employees dig in the 800 block of north Sanborn Boulevard to fix a broken water main Monday afternoon. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)

Water main breaks, disrupts Sanborn

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News Mitchell,South Dakota 57301
The Daily Republic
Water main breaks, disrupts Sanborn
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Two businesses and four households were without water Monday afternoon in Mitchell while city workers fixed a water main break on Sanborn Boulevard.

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Deputy Director of Public Works Terry Johnson said the break was reported around 9 a.m.

“We had someone come in and say they were hearing noises from inside their bathroom area,” he said. “We found the water was coming into a storm manhole on North Sanborn, adjacent to the water main break.”

The leak was likely caused by the age of the cast iron pipe and the extreme temperatures, he said. The pipe does not have much flexibility, so when the temperatures get extremely cold and then dramatically rise, leaks are possible. He said the same section of pipe leaked recently, during a cold snap. The temperature reached the 40s Monday in Mitchell, following a recent extended period of subzero temps.

Johnson said the city detected where the leak was using a device called a LeakListener. Johnson said the sensor was placed on the pavement and it detected where the greatest noise was emanating from the top of the pavement.

“We couldn’t see where water was coming out of the ground at other leaks, so we purchased the sensor last year,” he said.

City workers dug up the area and barricaded two blocks to dig down to the break.

Johnson said the water was turned back on Monday afternoon, but the road will be reduced to single lanes in each direction between Seventh and Ninth avenues for the rest of the week. That’s in the area of the Salvation Army.

Although the water line was fixed Monday, Johnson said it will take time to replace the dirt that washed away.

“We’ll have to re-pack and re-pour,” he said. “We’ll put in a new gravel base and concrete the whole area.”

Concrete will be poured Wednesday. Johnson said the line was already scheduled to be replaced between Seventh and Ninth avenues this summer.