2 burst pipes cause water complications in Anderson

Both pipes about 80 years old

ANDERSON, Ind. - Anderson officials say water service there should be back to normal by Saturday morning after two major water main breaks near the city's Wheeler Avenue treatment plant.

Anderson's water problem was complicated by the fact that there were two large breaks -- one on an intake pipe bringing in water from the city's well field and the other on an outgoing pipe taking the water to customers.

City officials say the first break was discovered by a utility worker Wednesday night in a 24-inch concrete pipe that brings in about 50 percent of the city's raw water. The second, smaller leak was discovered shortly afterward. 

City officials blame both breaks on age -- both pipes are approximately 80 years old.

Officials say the first break is now under control.

"During the night we were able to place a collar on that, so that's repaired," said Mayor Kevin Smith. "We have another one to go that was much smaller and much less severe."

While the leak was big, Smith said there was no curtailment of residential service.

"Well, it was a serious leak. We never dropped below the threshold of being able to supply water to the citizens or to our industries here," Smith said.

Anderson economic development director, Greg Winkler, said the impact of the break was minimal because of the cooperation of one of the city's heaviest water user, Nestle, which came forward and volunteered to curtail its operations.

"The collaboration with Nestle has been extremely helpful," Winkler said. "Nestle voluntarily agreed to shut down four of their lines. They're still running two lines. We have part of the leak fixed."

Smith said he hopes to alleviate problems like this by expanding the city's water system. 

Those plans, which he'll present to the council over the next month, don't have a price tag yet, but they would greatly expand the city's water capacity to satisfy new industrial customers like Nestle.

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