Water main break leaves some Seattle residents dry

Water main break leaves some Seattle residents dry
SEATTLE -- A break in a water main in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood left area residents and businesses without any water for a night, and a big, gaping sinkhole in the middle of a busy street.

Seattle Public Utilities says a very old 16-inch pipe, the workhorse of the water system, cracked Wednesday night under the road at First Ave. S. and S. King St.

"(Installed) between 1908, 1916, 1920. Cast-iron water main with lead joints," said Sean Corr with SPU.

Water started bubbling up, then the road collapsed.

"Either water pressure carved a hole in the side from the leaky joint through water pressure, or the main cracked because the leak got the ground saturated," Corr said.

And that could've moved the pipe, causing it to rupture.

Normally when a lead joint leaks, workers can pound it back into place. But this time, they had to cut out a section of the water main. Crews also found a hole in a nearby sewer line.

F.X. McRory's, known for its oysters, shut down early Wednesday night, as did several other bars and restaurants, since the water was completely turned off to make repairs.

And for those who lived in nearby condos and apartments, it meant a more challenging evening, and perhaps going without that morning shower before heading to worn on Thursday.

Condo owner Sara-Jane Bellanca had extra water sitting on the stove top for cooking, washing, even some to flush the toilet.

"Those are all pots of water," she said. "The night-time hot shower is not going happen, and if you go to work really early, you're not going to get a morning shower."

Crews were hoping to have water restored Thursday morning but road repairs would take longer.