Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daria Anderson-Faden
The Observer 

Kimball's Bad Break

Water Main Mishap Closes Chestnut Street, Floods Some Businesses


July 15, 2021

Daria Anderson-Faden

On Monday morning, gushing water could be heard spewing into the basement of Hometown Hardware on Chestnut Street. It was estimated that at the time of this picture, about 8:30 a.m., there was four feet of water in the basement.

Havoc for a few business owners ensued when a 6-inch water main broke on the 200 block of Chestnut Street.

On Sunday, about 11:30 p.m., water was spotted bubbling up through cracks in the asphalt in the middle of Chestnut Street. The cracks and wavy asphalt near the center line on Chestnut Street are results.

Early Monday morning, the Water Department realizing the possibility of a water main break, began tearing up asphalt and looking for the break. Their guess was pretty spot on as they found the "leak" and uncovered the main, but nothing goes as planned.

Water continued to gush out of the broken main because the shut-off valve was inoperable, and the city employees were forced to dig another spot of the main out about 20 feet to the south and install an Insta-Valve to stop the flow of water.

Once the Insta-Value stopped the flow of water, water was pumped out of the area, and repairs could begin.

After a long Monday, the city crew began their Tuesday at 4 a.m. The city employees worked to remove about an eight-foot segment of the water main and replaced that area with a new pipe. The water main had a sizable chunk broke out and a long crack. Employees figure it had been leaking for some time.

Mayor Keith Prunty said that "the dedication of our boys is unbelievable."

Daria Anderson-Faden

Water gushes up out of the broken water main on Chestnut Street. City employees worked two long days to stop the flow of water and repair the leak. City of Kimball employees Casey Hottell, left, and Mark Nelson survey the situation.

Two businesses, as well as the Eagles were impacted by the water main break as water escaped into their basements. It was estimated that Hometown Hardware had about 4 feet of water in the basement. Jerry Brown of B & B Water Well Service pumped the water out, and he estimated that about 60,000 gallons of water was pumped out just from the hardware store's basement.

The building to the south, Shear Images/Midwest Electric, also reported 4 feet of water in their basement. By Tuesday, most of the water in their basement had been removed.

The Eagles has just a few inches of water, but it seeped into the Eagles basement from a crack in the neighboring building.

Mayor Prunty told the Observer that the city hopes to have everything repaired and back in operation by Wednesday or Thursday. City employees will place a special material around the water mains as a method to absorbed movement, and then concrete will be poured to repair the street.

The water mains are about 5 feet deep and were installed sometime in the 1950s.


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