SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, July 21, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A fracture to a water main Wednesday evening sent an estimated 1 million gallons of water gushing into a roadway, flooding into storm drains, and ripping out such immense chunks of pavement that a city trackhoe was partway swallowed by the muddy maw.
Salt Lake City Fire Department crews spotted the leak while on the way to another emergency early Wednesday evening, then circled back as soon as possible.
“We believe it to be a 36-inch main that resulted in massive water being thrown out into the street today,” said Capt. Marco Morger, of the SLCFD.
“Other than the damage to damage to the property, we lost a trackhoe as you can see behind you,” Morger told Gephardt Daily.
“It fell into a hole that was created as the water rushed out.”
The water main broke was at 3800 West and 1820 South. Roads had to be closed for several blocks surrounding the main break so water could be shut off at key valves.
Morger said crews were lucky the flood happened after most rush hour traffic was over, and in a commercial area without many residents who would be inconvenienced.
Police and utility crews also were on scene Wednesday night, Morger said, adding it was likely some businesses would still be without water in the morning.
“We’ve been informed this is the Central Utah Project line, so this serves West Valley as well as Magna, so we’re going to see some impact to surrounding communities.”
Roads likely will be blocked off on Thursday morning as well, since engineers need to established the watery roadways are strong enough to support the weight of cars and trucks, Morger said.
The Salt Lake City Police Department will be among the agencies investigating the cause of the main break, Morger said. He wouldn’t speculate if a construction accident broke the main.
“I can’t assign blame at this time, all I can say is that it’s a tragedy that we lost a piece of equipment.”