ONTARIO — Crews with Jacobs, which handles Ontario Public Works, had to excavate in an alleyway near the downtown area early Wednesday morning, where water and sand were spilling out into the street.
The cause was the failure of a coupler on a 10-inch water main, according to Cliff Leeper, director of Public Works. Commenting that the failure was “highly unusual,” he said the underlying cause was recent freezing and cold temperatures that caused the line to contract.
“When it did, it contracted past where the coupler could hold it in,” Leeper explained.
The line, which is made of high-density polyethylene, commonly known as HDPE, is “relatively new,” he said, adding that the reason HDPE is used in the industry is that it is a “very, very good product.”
Fortunately, parts were in house, Leeper said, and did not have to be ordered.
The repair entailed the application of another fitting “that would prevent this from happening in the future,” he said.
While work was performed, water was shut off in the area on South Oregon to Southwest Third Street and Southwest Fifth Street.
Crews went door to door, according to Leeper, to contact all the people impacted by the outage.
“The worst thing that can happen is people don’t understand [why the water is shut off], he said. “If they know something, they know there’s an end in sight, that’s a positive.”
The break was reported at about 6 a.m., Leeper said, and crews responded immediately, isolating and subsequently performing the needed work.
“The crews did a great job,” Leeper said. “Everything turned out well and I am pleased with staff.”
To this he added that he was grateful crews didn’t have to deal with this during the expected snow forecasted for this weekend.
Crews blocked one of the westbound lanes during the work, which wrapped up by 11:30 a.m.