Maintenance crews from the City of Hampton were scrambling to repair a water main break near the intersection of 8th Street Southeast and 4th Avenue Southeast Thursday morning.
Public Works Director Doug Tarr said the main ruptured between 3-4 a.m. The break significantly dropped the tank level in the city’s water tower, and Tarr said the main gushed nearly two feet high when crews arrived at the scene. Classes at South Side Elementary were canceled today due to the break.
“Unfortunately, this is one of the worst we’ve had,” Tarr said.
Workers had to tear up asphalt to access the broken pipe. Two heavy-duty pumps were brought in clear out the hole after a backhoe broke up the road. Tarr said the area supplied by the main would be shut off temporarily to complete the repair.
“I’m just glad it’s a nice day today and not 30 or 40 below windchill like we’ve had the last two weeks,” Tarr said as a crew dug up the road.
Thursday’s ordeal was just another headache for Hampton residents and the city’s mantenance department. Frozen pipes left upwards of 10 homes without water this week, and crews have battled frozen mains all winter. Tarr expected problems to continue as the frost line extends even deeper into the soil.
Earlier this week, the City of Hampton released information to help prevent residents’ pipes from freezing. Homeowners should keep the area where the service line enters at room temperature; prevent drafts and wind from entering the structure; wrap vulnerable lines with heat tape; run a continuous stream of water when the water temp is observed at or below 45 degrees; and assure proper insulation in exterior walls where water lines may have been plumbed.
Though it’s warmed up during the past two days, Tarr said the frost line tends to crawl deeper when temps see a brief spike.
“And that makes you a little more worried. If we could get a couple of warmer weeks strung together, it’d be great,” he said on Tuesday.
Look for the full story in next week’s edition of the Hampton Chronicle