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Union Street repair work continues

A SECTION OF Union Street remains closed for repairs and repaving after an aging water main ruptured Monday evening between Third and Fourth streets.

Photo by Mark Gibson
A SECTION OF Union Street remains closed for repairs and repaving after an aging water main ruptured Monday evening between Third and Fourth streets.

A section of Union Street remains closed so The Dalles Public Works Department can repair a turn-of-the-century water main that ruptured Monday evening and released about 210,000 gallons of water.

“As a community, we’re using 5 to 6 million gallons per day so, in comparison, it was not a huge loss of water,” said Dave Anderson, director of public works. “We were able to manipulate the water system (after the break) so everyone still has water service.”

He said the 10-inch main line has been in the ground since about 1900 and broke in the middle of Union between Third and Fourth streets.

Alarms at the reservoir were triggered once the flow level rose to about 3,000 gallons per minute so city officials knew something was wrong almost immediately,” said Anderson.

He said it took workers a little more than an hour to pinpoint exactly where the break had occurred.

Although water lines are flushed out a couple times per year, Anderson said there was still some sediment at the bottom of the line that got stirred up by the increased flow.

There has been more mineral content than usual this year, he said, due to the drought and the city tapping into its wells to augment the water supply.

“There’s been nothing harmful in the pipes but no one wants to drink dirty-looking water,” said Anderson.

He said additional flushing had to be done when there were several other reports of discolored water in the area. Anderson recommends that people with water discoloration run their faucet for a few minutes to let clear water get through the system. If the problem persists he said customers should report it to the city at 541-296-5401, Ext. 2001.

Anderson said Union will be repaved and reopened when the gravel and dirt are dry and once again compact. Motorists are asked to use Court or Liberty streets as alternate routes travelling north and south.

“The street may remain closed for awhile,” he said. “We might allow people to drive on a gravel surface until we are ready to pave but we’re still evaluating that.” Anderson said the main was one of many in the network that serves downtown and waterfront customers.

He said the line that broke was slated to be replaced when the Third Street Streetscape project to install new sidewalks and period lighting, among other changes, occurred.

“There is no sense in getting all that work done and then having to dig up the street so we planned to do it all together,” he said.

There is no scheduled date for the streetscaping work to begin, although it remains a priority for city officials, who believe that sprucing up the downtown blocks will attract more new businesses.


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