Soggy ordeal solved

SARANAC LAKE – Working into the early morning, village employees fixed a water main break under Lake Flower Avenue at 3:40 a.m.

“The water is back on,” Kevin Pratt, head of the village’s water and sewer department, said this morning.

There are three water mains tied together under that section of the road, Pratt said: a 4-inch diameter pipe from the early 1900s, a 10-inch diameter pipe from 1934 and a 12-inch pipe put in around 1968 to 1972. The 12-inch pipe was originally believed to have broken, but it was later determined to be the 10-inch pipe.

“It had approximately a 10 (foot-long) crack,” Pratt said.

The water was finally shut off last night at 9 p.m., Pratt said. That’s 12 hours after the main broke. Then workers got down into the hole and began working on the pipe, cutting out the broken section of pipe and replacing it.

The state Health Department issued a boil-water order Wednesday afternoon for village water users on Lake Flower Avenue, from Winona Avenue toward Lake Placid, and all side streets: Center Street, Merrill Street, Santanoni Avenue, Colony Court, Meadow Lane, Crossfield Road, Duprey Street, Edward Street, Cortez Lane, Turtle Pond Road, Will Rogers Road and North Country Community College.

The boil-water order will be lifted when repairs are finished and after two days of consecutive clean water samples. It’s been issued as a precaution due to the drop in water line pressure, which means bacteria could have gotten into the system.

Pratt said the first water test sample was taken Wednesday and a second will be taken Friday morning.

“Saturday afternoon the boil order should be over,” Pratt said.

For 12 hours Wednesday, through afternoon rain, village crews kept trying to shut off the water that was leaking out of the main. They dug up valve after valve and shut them off, but the water kept flowing. So they drilled with a jackhammer into the road, looking for more.

“We’ve shut off about a dozen valves,” Pratt said around 5 p.m.

At one point the edge of the road surface gave way beneath a village truck, dipping one wheel into a water-filled hole. The truck has a pump that is used to flush out the valves.

They brought in an excavator around 11 a.m. and used it in the afternoon to rip up the street on top of the main. Two pumps were sucking water out of the hole so that later a trench box could be put in and workers could repair the leak.

The road was soaked with water from Center Street, near where the pipe broke, down to homes before the bend at Fogarty’s Lake Flower Marina. Traffic has been down to one lane since 9 a.m. and was still that way this morning.