Water main fails, Portales without water

By Karl Terry

Shortly after midnight Saturday a major water main in Portales broke causing flooding and necessitating that city crews shut down water to the entire city.

According to City Manager Debi Lee, the broken line was a 24 -inch water main near First and Avenue O, behind Taco Box.

Lee said that for a time city water tanks were losing three feet every 20 minutes. Water in the streets rose fast enough along Avenue I that sand bags had to be brought in because of the danger of homes flooding.

City crews finally opted to shut down the lines at the city’s tanks to get the situation under control.

Lee said the city had extra employees stationed at city hall and the police station as well as recordings on some lines to answer questions about the water outage.
Around 10:30 a.m. today crews had pumped enough water from the site to see the break. Lee said that Joe Ramirez, utilities supervisor, had said it looked as if the line was split on top and could be repaired fairly quickly this afternoon.

Lee said she was optimistic that the break could be fixed soon but couldn’t give a definite timeframe for residents to regain water.

Lee said the city will have to turn the water back on slowly in sections to prevent blowing out other lines as they bring the system back online. Residents will experience lots of air and possibly sand in their lines as pressure is brought back up.

For more details see Sunday’s PNT