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Officials Address Water Main Breaks Individually

March 7, 2012, 10:15 PM by Brady Mallory

Officials Address Water Main Breaks Individually

Five water mains broke in Sioux Falls Tuesday night, resulting in problems from Downtown all the way to the Empire Mall, and neighborhoods in between.  Traffic was even re-routed in places. 

City officials say all the damage is the result of an attempt to drain the Menlo Avenue water tower. 

Public Works officials did not send out or post a news release about what happened, but the Public Works Director says people were still notified.

Most people took the water main breaks in stride.

"It's inconvenient, but it's nobody's fault.  Just old lines, or whatever," Travis Shaykett said. 

Shaykett and his wife have lived near Jefferson Avenue and 20th Street for about three years.

City workers moved quickly Tuesday night to close water valves, isolate the break and make repairs.

"Then we go and start to alert the neighbors that we've got a water main break and that we need to take the water system down in this specific area," SF Public Works Director Mark Cotter said.

Shaykett agreed city workers did come to his door to tell him about the water main breaks.

"We had this green flyer on our door saying we had to boil water and take precautionary measures," Shaykett said.

But he and his wife did not notice the green flyer on their door right away.

"We didn't get home until 8:30 or 9 p-m and we didn't get the flyer until the morning.  So, we didn't know about it in the morning," Shaykett said.

Public Works employees send out a number of news releases on any given day, including one about draining the Menlo Water Tower.  Other news releases from city departments are sent out, including a number of notices for the mayor's listening and learning sessions.  The public is also notified about many kids' events, including one called, 'Dino-Roars'.  Cotter says these events have a greater effect on the community.

"The tailored approach we've taken for water is we want to interact directly face-to-face with the affected customers.  All three of those situations are community at-large and the press release greatly fits that," Cotter said.

Cotter says city workers went back to talk to people at home and answer any questions about the main breaks.  Shaykett says he and his neighbors are happy with the one-on-one.

"I'm glad they notified us because I wouldn't have thought about it," Shaykett said.

According to Cotter, there is more than 1,000 miles of water mains and it is pretty typical for one to break.  The last one happened in February.  The department does send out releases if the break affects a larger portion of the city.

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