Crews still working on water main

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

The city of Portales experienced another rupture Monday in a 24-inch water main on the west side of city, according to a press release from the city of Portales.

It was the third major break in just over two years and flooded some streets and left many residents and businesses with low water pressure and others with no water at all.

The burst water main, in the area of U.S. 70 and Avenue K, was located this morning by city workers who originally hoped repairs could be made without turning off water service. By 8:30 p.m. Monday workers had finally pumped enough water out of the area to begin working on the repair.

Capt. Lonnie Berry of the Portales Police Department said city crews were first informed of the problem about 7 a.m. Monday after water was seen bubbling in the area.

Berry said while no water had been shut off at noon, the break appeared to a bigger problem than first anticipated. Crews working to pump water away from the site got a boost when a pair of pumps from city of Clovis arrived mid-afternoon.

“It looks like we’ve got more water turned off than we ever intended to,” Berry said late Monday. “Some businesses have water and some don’t.”

Berry said at 7:30 p.m. Monday that crews thought it would be at least 9 p.m. before they were able to get complete access to the pipe to begin replacing it. He said materials needed to make the repair were on hand and lighting had been set up to allow crews to work through the night. He said officials believe the water can be restored to all businesses and residents overnight.

Tankers filled with water were set up at Roosevelt General Hospital to supply patients’ needs and at First Baptist Church’s parking lot at Second and Avenue C to provide residents a source of potable water if they needed it, according to Berry.

Water to businesses at the nearby Portales industrial park nearby were shut off late Monday, according to Berry.

Berry said restaurants were being instructed to close if they didn’t have water pressure and the ability to maintain proper sanitation and dishwashing.

The two other leaks in the 24-inch water mains over the last two years occurred in the same general area as Monday’s break. In February 2006, water service was shut off to the entire city for nearly 20 hours. In May about half of the city lost water service for a shorter length of time.