Thousands of Customers Still Without Water After Main Break


8PM Update:

Tennessee American reports they have begun making the repair and could fix it by Saturday morning.  But it will still take time after the repair for the system to return to normal.

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Thousands of people in the Tennessee Valley are still without water, after a water main break late Thursday evening.

Crews have been working all day to repair the break, but the work is taking even longer than Tennessee American Water had expected.

Repair crews are making progress, but it’s proving more difficult and time consuming than they had previously thought.

Around 10 pm Thursday night, Tennessee American Crews were working on a planned project at the main plant off Amnicola Highway. A water main break occurred in a 1960’s era, 36 inch pipe near where they were working.

Because such a large volume of water goes through that pipe, up to 35,000 customers were affected.

This morning, a prediction of 12 hours for much of the low lying areas of downtown to have service restored was made, but the repairs are taking longer than anticipated.

Daphne Kirksey, with Tennessee American Water, explains why.

“We have to turn a lot of valves in order to isolate this main break, and in order to isolate it or keep the water from flowing through there anymore, it’s kind of a tricky process, and um, if we didn’t do that then of course our workers who would be making that repair, would be unsafe,” said Daphne Kirksey, External Affairs Manager with Tennessee American Water.

Ms. Kirksey says they’re asking their customers who DO have water, to conserve – to refrain from watering plants, lawns, and even skipping showers. And . . .

“Because this event is taking longer, we are issuing, um a voluntary boil water advisory,” said Ms. Kirksey.

This water boiling advisory is only for Tennessee American Water customers, and only out of an abundance of caution, since she says bacteria may form in the water if it’s sitting stagnant for too long.

Amy Maxwell with the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency, says water is being delivered to community centers, hospitals, and the jail.

“Operations at the jail continue to be as normal, we are providing water and also the portable toilets, for the inmates as well. We also have fire trucks that are there to help assist with the water efforts as well,” said Amy Maxwell, Public Information Officer with the Emergency Management Agency.

18 Fire Department Tankers are helping with fire suppression and water supply for local businesses and hospitals. 8 surrounding counties and all local volunteer fire departments were all assisting in the effort.