Water bubbled up from cracks and joints Thursday on the north side of Main St. between 2nd and 3rd. Sts. after a water “hammer” Thursday caused by a power failure blew out chunks of an iron water main.
The power failure lasted roughly 10 minutes early in the afternoon, with work on the water main continuing until almost midnight.
Marion public works director Marty Fredrickson said the main primarily served fire hydrants from Walnut St. to 3rd St. Businesses along the stretch were not affected by water being shut off because their water flows from mains in the alley, he said.
Customers west of Walnut St. to Billings St. were out of water because their water mains connected to the portion of pipe shut off to repair the leaks.
Pipe had to be excavated to locate where the main was leaking, and pipe patches had to be installed before two large areas excavated were filled back in.
The leaks were hard to locate. The first excavation proved to be in the wrong location, Fredrickson said.
The city was pumping water to its water towers when the electricity failed, and water in the pipes leading to the tower began backing down into the mains, he said.
Back-up generators were turned on at the water plant to pump water to the towers, and water flowing back down the pipes from the tower collided with that water, causing two fist-sized section of pipe section to blow out and creating two smaller leaks.
City crews worked from 3 to 11:30 p.m. excavating and repairing the line.
City administrator Roger Holter said two full dump trucks of gravel were required to fill excavated areas. Repairs to the street were made Friday morning but will not be complete until the soil dries enough for concrete to be poured on top.
Fredrickson said about 20,000 gallons, or $101 worth of water, were spilled in the incident.