SARANAC LAKE - Village workers capped a five-day ordeal this afternoon by repairing a leaky water main beneath Broadway and turning the water back on to downtown businesses.
The village planned to reopen the normally busy street by 6 p.m., it announced around 5 p.m. The village Department of Public Works had just finished repairing the last known leaky section 15 minutes earlier.
"Repair efforts on all known water breaks under the Broadway block between Olive and Dorsey Streets were completed at 4:45 PM today," a village press release said. "This afternoon, Village employees replaced a 20 (foot) section of iron waterline that had cracked along its length."
A Saranac Lake village worker cuts a piece of iron water main this afternoon. The pipe was set in the ground shortly afterward, repairing leaks that plagued downtown since Friday.
(Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)
Mayor Clyde Rabideau added, in the release, "It was a grueling 5 days for our crews, but they dogged down the leaks and fixed them and I thank them for their perseverance under some very challenging temperatures and, now, we are all hopefully moving on."
As DPW employee Tom Strack restored water service to the Enterprise building, he echoed that it had been a difficult job.
"It was a week from hell," he said.
Not everything is back to normal yet. A boil-water order remains in effect for all apartments and businesses on Broadway between Dorsey Street and Bloomingdale Avenue. It's a precaution since air got into the system when the water was shut off. Until two consecutive daily samples show no bacteria contamination, people should boil this area's water for one minute before drinking it or using it for tooth-brushing, dish washing preparing food or making ice.
The initial water line break happened late Friday afternoon, when a 6-inch lateral that serves the Thompson Building, across the street from Community Bank, ruptured, and a large amount of water began pooling up on and under the street. Several feet of water flooded the basement of the building that houses the JC Penney catalog store.
Village crews worked through the weekend and were able to locate and repair the lateral Sunday, only to discover water was still leaking from somewhere else nearby.
On Monday, the village brought in a specialist from the New York Rural Water Association who used special leak-detection equipment to try and find the break.
Finding the break proved difficult because of the depth of the water main, which is under 3 to 4 feet of frost and a foot of concrete.
Also complicating the job was the fact that every time the village turned on the water to try to get a better idea of where the break was, the basement of the JC Penney building was flooded.
That section of Broadway may have to be rebuilt in the summer, village Sewer Plant Operator Kevin Pratt said this morning.