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Many breaks: Crews make repairs in southwest Jamestown

City Water Department crew members use shovels to remove mud from around a water main break below 15th Street Southwest on Wednesday. Multiple water main breaks in the area have resulted in temporary water outages to about 55 residences since Monday. Keith Norman / The Sun1 / 2
An excavator removes pavement and soil over a water main break on 15th Street Southwest on Wednesday. The water main below the street has developed multiple breaks since Monday resulting in periodic water outages for residents in the area.Keith Norman / The Sun2 / 2

Multiple water line failures in southwest Jamestown have residents looking for places to shower and purchasing bottled water.

“It’s more of an inconvenience than a real problem,” said Barb Remmick, who lives on 15th Street Southwest. “I shower at my sister’s (home) at night, but I can’t do laundry at home. The city has to do what it’s got to do.”

The problems began Monday, according to Steve Suko, utility operations director for Jamestown. Since then, breaks have occurred as quickly as water mains could be excavated and patched.

“We had six or seven repairs in about a 60-foot section on 15th Street,” he said. “We replaced some segments and patched some other spots.”

At noon Wednesday, crews were excavating another leak about 50 feet to the east of that section. Each time a new break occurred, the city would shut down water to a trickle in the area.

“We’ve had such a frequency of breaks the water has been off more than on in some areas,” Suko said.

Tyler Michael, engineering technician for Jamestown, said the breaks and outages affected about 25 homes on 15th Street Southwest and 30 homes on 16th Street Southwest.

Darin Goter, a resident of 15th Street Southwest, said the water was on Tuesday night but off Wednesday morning. Service had been returned by Wednesday afternoon.

“As many water breaks as they have going they have to do what they can,” Goter said.

Suko said the water mains were installed in the 1950s or early 1960s. The pipes are cast iron and showed significant exterior pitting although the interiors were in good condition.

Crews planned on working through Wednesday evening and would return this morning to repair any remaining leaks.

“We appear to be catching up,” Suko said Wednesday afternoon. “At least at this point were not springing new leaks.”

Suko said the causes of the multiple failures were unknown but could include the age of the pipes, the wet conditions of the soil that could cause corrosion or additional water pressure from the addition of the new water tower south of Jamestown along Country Club Road.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at