BY SARAH R. GREGORY
Crews from the Greeneville Water Department worked throughout Tuesday to repair a 12-inch water-line break that destroyed a large section of pavement on East Church Street.
A 10-foot-by-70-foot area of East Church Street was destroyed when the water line ruptured.
A portion of the road was closed to traffic for most of the day.
The break, near Pine Ridge Apartments, just before the intersection with Barton Ridge Road, was first reported soon after 5 a.m. Tuesday, according to Greeneville Water Department Shop Foreman William Ross.
Crews from Summers-Taylor, Inc. traveled from Elizabethton to begin emergency repairs on the road's surface, and finished at approximately 7 p.m., allowing normal traffic flow to resume.
Ross said crews of approximately eight to 10 men worked throughout Tuesday to repair the line.
He estimated that 30 customers experienced water outages until service was restored around 1:30 p.m.
Greeneville Water Superintendent Laura White said that it was not a clean break, and the type of split the line experienced was a more difficult type of repair that made it necessary to replace an entire section of pipe.
Fortunately, she added, a 20-inch line in the same area did not break.
Y CLOSES, THEN REOPENS
The 12-inch-line break did disrupt operations at the YMCA, prompting closure for a few hours.
Director Mike Hollowell said the facility had water but low pressure until experiencing a total outage around 9:30 a.m.
"When we lost water completely, we just felt it was in the best interest of everyone to shut down the Y until 2 o'clock," Hollowell said.
Fortunately, he added, water service was restored around 1:15 p.m., and operations resumed as normal.
Hours and programs today are on a normal schedule, Hollowell said.
Both White and Ross attributed the break to the water line's age. They said the pipe was decades old, though no one knew precisely how old.
Ross said that a change in weather recently could have also contributed to the break, and noted that two other water lines in town were also damaged Tuesday.
In addition to dealing with the Church Street problem, Water Department crews responded to a one-inch water-line break around midday Tuesday on Aspen Street, near West Main Street and about a block from the Crescent Office Complex .
That breakage was much less severe and easier to repair, according to Water Department workers.
Workers also responded to a water-line break at Days Inn, on the East Andrew Johnson Highway
Ross said, however, that the water line that broke at that facility was a privately-owned pipe, and not Greeneville Water Department equipment.