NORMAN — Norman city utility crews were stretched thin Wednesday morning as they responded to six water line breaks throughout the city.
The series of breaks started with a major break that affected water pressure to homes and businesses mostly west of Interstate 35, but all repairs were made and water service restored by the end of the workday Wednesday.
“Our guys are incredible,” Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske said.
Earlier that day, Komiske reported that a large, 24-inch line at 24th Avenue Northwest under Robinson Street was the initial break.
The two westbound lanes of West Robinson Street between 24th Avenue Northwest and North Interstate Drive were closed to traffic because of the primary line break. This lane closure will be in effect until Friday at approximately 4 p.m. to enable repairs to be made to Robinson.
“We got a call around a quarter after six this morning,” Komiske said Wednesday morning. “They’re still trying to find exactly where the leak is. It’s just old ductile iron pipe. The unfortunate part is it’s under Robinson under eight inches of cement and we’re having to dig it up and fix it.”
Initially, residents suffered low water pressure but did not lose service.
“That’s one of the main feeds. Our crews have tried to isolate it to prevent water loss,” Komiske said. “Our water treatment plant increased their pumping capacity to ensure water was going throughout the distribution system, and that created a few additional line breaks like the one on Gray and Peters.”
The increased pressure revealed weaknesses in the system, causing five additional water breaks and some loss of water service for short periods of time.
“The guys are on call 24 hours, and they respond really quickly,” Komiske said. “They’re really good at it.”
The 24-inch line is one of the biggest feeds in the city’s water system. The break occurred at a time of day when there is high demand because people were taking showers to get ready for work, Komiske said.