SARANAC LAKE - After 26 hours of labor, the village Department of Public Works repaired a broken water main around 2 o'clock in the morning Sunday, but they still don't know what caused the pipe to break.
Frost could have been the culprit, but it's too hard to tell, according to DPW Superintendent Jeff Dora. The inside of the 46-year-old pipe "looked like in very good shape," he said.
Meanwhile, a boil-water order is in effect for residents of Circle Street and one block of Park Avenue, between Circle and Baker Street. A first water sample was taken today, a second will follow Tuesday, and if both test OK, the water could be cleared for drinking Wednesday, Dora said.
The break was first reported to village police around 11:30 p.m. Friday. It occurred on Park Avenue near the intersection with Circle Street, where a large section of the pavement had been pushed up from the rest of the road. Water gushed out of the pipe, and a torrent was pouring into the street around midnight.
From there, the water flowed down Circle Street in one direction and, in another, through a vacant lot next to Jason and Zoe Smith's Park Avenue house. From that lot, the water flowed across the Smiths' backyard, over a small stone wall and into the abutting backyard of Karen and Scott Smith's house on Margaret Street.
Water flowed through several other nearby yards, and there was at least 2 to 3 inches of standing water on a section of Margaret Street.
Water gushes out of a section of upheaved pavement on Park Avenue, the site of a major water main break in Saranac Lake Friday night.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
A Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department truck showed up around 12:10 a.m. and provided equipment for the Margaret Street Smiths to pump out their basement, which had reportedly filled with 18 inches of water.
The request for fire department assistance came as many of the department's members were near St. Regis Falls area battling a major structure fire at the Santa Clara Lodge. Village Department of Public Works crews were at the scene trying to get the water turned off.
By 2:30 a.m. Saturday, the flooding was largely gone, and what was left was in the process of freezing. A DPW crew was digging up the road with a backhoe and pumping out the water that kept filling the large hole. Around the hole, the road was full of muddy sand from the digging. Circle and Margaret streets were icy as the water that had flowed down the from the broken main froze.
The crews are still on the scene today.
"This morning they're up there getting the road put back together, and keeping our fingers crossed that this is the end of that," Dora said.
The break, and the digging that followed, wrecked pavement that had been resurfaced little more than a year ago, in fall 2012. It will be rough again for a few months. Dora said he hopes to get it repaved around when blacktopping is being done for a block of Broadway that's scheduled for replacement. He hopes that will take place in early June.