A water line break left residents along 700 South in Tooele City without water for several hours on Sunday.
The break was reported by Tooele City through its Facebook account around 4:30 p.m., on a report city crews were working to fix a large water main break. Residents along 700 South between Coleman Street and 780 West were affected, with an early estimate of up to 12 hours without water.
By 11:30 p.m., the City announced the line was repaired and water had been restored for residents in the affected area through another Facebook post. Residents were advised to run water through their bathtubs until it appeared clear, then through the remaining faucets in the home, as sediment could appear in the lines, discoloring it.
The cause of the water main break is still being looked into, according to Steve Evans, Tooele City’s public works director. The City’s engineer, Paul Hansen, had not had a chance to look at the pipe as of Monday afternoon.
While there is no final cost estimate yet on the damage from the water main break, Evans said Hansen estimates more than $25,000 for the road repair alone. With additional costs for parts, labor, equipment and materials, the break will likely reach $40,000 to $50,000.
There are a number of ways a water line can break, depending on factors including the material used, how it is stored and weather conditions, according to Evans.
For a steel pipe, imperfections in the casting process can lead to a break, Evans said. The same can be true for an error in the construction of plastic pipes. Even the pipe being dropped in the transportation process can lead to small fractures and a weakening of the pipe, which can lead to a break later on.
Other factors include the acidity of the soil and if the pipe is properly installed in sand or road base to prevent fracturing, Evans said. Even weather, such as a cold, wet storm coming into the area when residents don’t use water the same as the day before, can cause a pressure build up that could lead to a failure.
Freezing and thawing can also cause movement in the ground, which can lead to a water main break, according to Evans. Earthquakes are another significant source of ground movement possible in the Wasatch Front area that can impact water lines, too.
In the hours following the water line break on Sunday, bottled water was available to affected residents. Evans suggested having stored water on hand in case of a water line break.
“People take for granted going to the faucet and getting water,” Evans said, in an email. “Water pressure and water availability is never a guarantee.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days in a basic emergency supply kit. More information on emergency preparedness and supply kits can be found on the Tooele County Emergency Management website, tcem.org.