Water back on after large water main break on E. Princess Anne Road in Norfolk, road still closed

Posted at 8:08 AM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 08:10:02-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The 120-year old pipe that broke has been replaced, now crews were focusing on repairing the road while residents try to clean up the mess.

83-year-old George McLeod lives with his wife who is 79 year old and disabled.

"I have a snow shovel but I don't know if it would do any good or not,"​ McLeod said.

The mud leftover from the water main break on Tuesday sat like a thick blanket over the walk way up to his door.

"The street had about an inch of mud all the way across it. I had a hard time getting out to go to work. I would like to get some help from somebody," McLeod said.

Norfolk department of utilities management services administrator Harry Kenyon says unfortunately there is no way to know when a pipe will burst.

"It usually comes as a surprise unless there is a leak or some indication of water coming up from the ground," Kenyon said.

According to Kenyon the usual life expectancy of a cast iron pipe like the one the burst is 100 years.

He also says most of the pipes located under downtown Norfolk are cast iron pipes that are 100 plus years old.

Under the capital improvement program 16 million dollars annually goes towards replacing bad pipes.

"We take a look at all of our pipes especially the older ones or the ones that have been around for a while we know they have met their life expectancy and we monitor those closely," Kenyon said.

Could your neighborhood be next?

Kenyon says residents who report possible problems is the best way for the department to catch problem pipes.

The 24-inch water main broke late Tuesday night and has since created a large crater in the road, measuring 45x35 feet and 12 feet deep. Officials say 6-7 million gallons of water rushed from the break, shooting out of the ground and flowing onto the street.

Water service to nearby homes and businesses was affected from Tuesday night until about 4 a.m. Thursday morning. Additionally, Dominion Energy had to turn off power to 140 homes and businesses in the area for crews to work under safe conditions. Power was restored just a few hours later.

Eastbound Princess Anne Road from Sewells Point Road and Kilmer Lane reopened on October 10 but officials said westbound Princess Anne Road will remain closed. It is expected to reopen by the end of the week.