SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A massive water main break in Springfield’s South End left many residents without water Wednesday morning and has brought a traffic nightmare.
Springfield Water and Sewer Executive Director Josh Schimmel said that a 36-inch cast-iron water main, that dates back to 1907, broke near the intersection of East Columbus Avenue and York Street.
That main does not have any history of breaks.
Once the break occurred, crews had to shut 11 valves to stop the water flow.
Schimmel noted that now that the water is draining in the area, valves can begin to be reopened and water service can be restored and people should soon see water pressure back. He did note that some locations on the outskirts of the break, including parts of Ludlow, may still see some pressure issues, but that is due to a power outage at the Worcester Street pumping station.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has also lifted a ‘shelter-in-place’ advisory in the city. He had issued an emergency declaration, saying both widespread storm damage and a water main break kept crews busy.
Exit 5 on I-91 north and Exit 4 on I-91 south were closed for a time, but have since reopened.
Crews are now on-scene assessing other utilities in the area with DigSafe and work will begin to make the repairs.
“Between Main and Broad Street on East Columbus Avenue, it’s going to be closed while we work to repair the road and repave over the area where we had to dig,” said Jaimye Bartak, spokesperson for the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission.
Despite the road closures, one nearby business said they're lucky to have dodged storm damage and most flooding.
"It got to about...feet ahead of the curve before it breached anything and then it started to settle down...There’s no storm damage just an early wake up call with the water main break," said Brian Houser, general manager at Balise Hyundai.
Schimmel explained that those who have water service restored may notice some discoloration. He noted that the water is safe to drink. It's recommended that customers flush the cold water for 15 minutes and see if that clears it. If not, repeat that process for another 15 minutes. He noted that the water discoloration is a result of increased flows and chages of flows in the system that scours the pipes.
Western Mass News will continue to follow this story and will have the latest on-air and online as it becomes available.