Auburn boil-water order continues into Thursday for some streets


AUBURN — City officials late Wednesday afternoon partially lifted a downtown boil-water order put in place after a tractor-trailer jumped the sidewalk, struck a hydrant and broke three water mains.

Mike Broadbent, assistant superintendent of the Auburn Water and Sewerage Districts, said water tests came back safe for School, Grant, James and Charles streets. The boil-water order was lifted for those streets.

Residents on Willow, Pine, Pearl and Oak streets were still under the order until at least Thursday.

“It’ll be in effect until we lift it. That’s when we get good samples back and we feel confident about them,” Broadbent said.

That could happen Thursday morning, when the latest test results are due.

The boil order stems from an accident Tuesday. Witnesses reported seeing a nondescript white truck strike the hydrant at Goff and Grant streets around 1:15 p.m. The truck did not stop.

“It immediately caused the hydrant valve to open up,” Broadbent said. “It started dumping line pressure. When it did that, of course you drop the system pressure. It then resulted in three other water-main breaks right in the immediate area around Goff Street.”

Water lines broke on Grant, School and Pine streets, with 5- to 6-foot cracks in each.

“It blew the tops of the mains right out,” Broadbent said. “They were rather large breaks. That’s why they were such big sinkholes.”

The breaks affected between 80 and 90 homes on Charles, Willow, James, School, Grant, Pine, Pearl and Oak streets, many of which were without water until repairs were finished at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Broadbent said staff went door to door hanging boil-water notices just before the water was turned back on. They recommended water be boiled for five minutes before use.

“Because the system was depressurized and because we replaced a section of the line, we want to make sure, to maintain public health, that there was no chance that any bacteria could have been introduced,” he said. “It’s a precaution; there’s no indication that there would be an issue.”

Water samples were taken before and after repairs. Tests take 18 hours. Results on Wednesday afternoon showed good readings on some streets but questionable readings on others.

“It just indicates that we did the right thing (in calling for the boil order),” Broadbent said. “We’re going to wait until we get good results and we’re confident about them.”

Pavement repairs should be finished next week.

Broadbent said it was too soon to estimate the cost of the repairs. Officials were reviewing surveillance-camera footage to see whether they could identify the truck or the driver.

“He must have driven up over the sidewalk,” Broadbent said. “The hydrant was in the sidewalk.”

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