Imagining 14 million gallons of water = 21 Olympic Pools of water!

Drinking water deemed safe after 'unprecedented' break

Workers Friday morning lifted the toppled backhoe that caused a major water main break in downtown Minneapolis that flooded streets with 14 million gallons of water and cut off water to a substantial swath of the city Thursday afternoon.

Dozens of workers for the city, Xcel Energy and Centerpoint were at the scene near the Hennepin Avenue Bridge, continuing around-the-clock work to clean up the area and repair the damage. Many downtown workers were sent home early Thursday because water was brown and toilets weren't working.

But the city reported Friday morning that the drinking water is safe. And toilets were flushing and water ran clear Friday morning at the Fifth Street Towers in downtown. The buildings and Caribou Coffee shut down early Thursday because of the break. "We got through it," Caribou staffer Luke Norfleet said.

At the scene Friday morning, gas company workers were checking that a nearby gas main was stable before city crews begin placing a sleeve over the break. The pipe lies about six feet away from the water pipe.
Comment: Scene at the office .... gross ... toilets filled up. People fled.

How much is 14 million gallons? Image above (source) (2000 Australian Olympic pool)

An Olympic pool (source) contains ...

660,430 gallons

Thus a spill of 14,000,000 gallons would be the equivalent of ...

21 Olympic Pools of water!


  1. Updated

    It has calculated the cost of water lost to the break at $65,000.

    The lost water represents about one third or more of the city’s daily water production during winter months, Asgian said. It’s also apparently without recent precedent.

    “I spoke with a person who’s been here 30 years and he said this was the biggest one we’ve ever seen,” she said. “It was a big chunk of the pipe that must have been taken.”

  2. 1/5/12: Blowout details: Minneapolis repairs water main

    Before water resumes, the new pipe -- 3 feet in diameter and 13 feet long -- must be examined for leaks, disinfected with chlorine, and flushed to remove the chemicals. Then the water will be tested to ensure its safety. The chlorination process takes about nine hours and the testing another 24 hours.

    Testing will be done by the city's water quality lab with observation by the Minnesota Department of Health, said Marie Asgian, the city's superintendent of water distribution. The two agencies are cooperating "to be sure that the water quality is 100 percent," she said.

    The water main broke about 2:30 p.m. Thursday on N. 2nd Street at Hennepin Avenue at the construction site for a $70 million retail-apartment complex that will include a Whole Foods Market. The break occurred when a subcontractor for Ryan Companies, which is building the complex, was boring under the street to install a sleeve for a sewer line linking the new building to the city's sewer system.

    Repair crews lifted out a 12-foot length of broken pipe Saturday. "The whole length of pipe was split from end to end and there was also about a 2 1/2-feet-by-7-feet-long piece blown out. It was really huge," said Mark Ebert, Minneapolis' general foreman for water distribution, who had been supervising repair work. "I've been with the city 33 years and this is the largest water-main break that I've known," he added.

    Asked what caused the blow out, Ebert declined to speculate. But, he added, "We've definitely found the smoking gun."

  3. 1/7/13 update with pic of cars hauled out of post office garage:

    Disinfection begins for replaced downtown Minneapolis water main

    A tow truck on Monday removed cars from a basement garage that had been damaged after a water main broke in downtown Minneapolis behind the Post Office on First Street South

  4. 1/8: Update

    Postal garage:

    Postal spokesman Pete Nowacki said that 33 cars used by postal administrators and 20 private cars were inundated in the garage at the downtown post office, and will presumably be written off as total losses. The below-ground levels of the garage flooded as water surged out of the maimed pipe a block away

    Lay of the land:

    .... the topography of the area allowed water to pool between curbs and then flow down onto the West River Parkway below

  5. Photo of the pipe: Photo Shows 3-Foot-Wide Mpls. Water Main Rupture

    A photo posted Wednesday shows how big the hole was in that 3-foot-wide water main that ruptured last Thursday.

    The city posted the picture on Twitter and said the section that came off the pipe was more than six-feet long.

  6. Update: Minneapolis to sue to recover costs of massive water main break:

    The city of Minneapolis is heading to court to try to recover several hundred thousand dollars it says it spent responding to the gashing of a city water main by a contractor in an early 2013 accident that incapacitated part of downtown.

    The city’s legal claim will be “in the low six figures,” Peter Ginder, chief of the city attorney’s civil division.

    The claim will name developer Ryan Companies, and subcontractors United Sewer and Water and Red Pederson Utilities and possibly other defendants, according to a City Council measure approved Friday. They worked on the apartment-retail project at 222 Hennepin Ave. where the break occurred.

    The council made the decision after a closed-door meeting with its attorneys. The pending lawsuit comes after more than a year of gathering claims and trying to negotiate with the contractors involved.

    City officials said at the time that the actual rupture of the three-foot-wide main was caused by a crawler hoe being operated by a Ryan subcontractor, United Sewer and Water.

    The leak caused during an excavation for a sewer connection released an estimated 14 million gallons of water that flooded nearby streets, snarling traffic.

    That imposed myriad costs, ranging form an estimated $65,000 in lost water to sending out crews to shut off water to the area, push the water toward the river, set up street detours, install a temporary aboveground pipe to serve affected residents, repair the pipe and pave the leak site. The city had estimated those costs at a minimum of $325,000 in the days after the accident.

    Businesses in the area were forced to close early for lack of water, while some businesses as far as a mile away saw their water temporarily curtailed. The Guthrie Theatre canceled a performance.

    Additionally, 33 Postal Service vehicles and 20 more owned by postal employees were ruined when water flowing down streets inundated the parking ramp at the main post office.


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