SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — A water main break in southwest Sioux Falls is focusing new attention on a broadband company that’s already come under fire from homeowners over the expansion of its fiber optic network. Vast Broadband has resumed its work in neighborhoods after agreeing to install less-visible ground-level pedestals in yards. But the installation work resulted in a flooded street over the weekend.
Barb Larson came home Saturday to a geyser spraying water in her front yard.
“And it was spouting up through the hole they had dug in our property, but it was also buckling up in the street, too, because it was coming in so fast and so hard and it was spouting up in the street,” Larson said.
A representative from Vast Broadband later told Larson that contractors installing fiber optic conduit for internet service struck a water main near her house.
“They did let me know that some of the crew members that were working that day that caused the water line break have now been let go,” Larson said.
“Most of the neighborhood is upset with how they’ve proceeded with the work. It doesn’t seem like they’ve been as professional as they should be and just causing lots of problems in the neighborhood,” homeowner Rolf Muldbakken said.
City crews repaired the water main and repaved the street, but had to shut off water to the neighborhood in the meantime.
“It was a huge inconvenience when you don’t have water, you can’t use your toilets, it’s not safe for drinking, so we had to drink bottled water, Larson said.
Homeowners say they want the crews to finish up whatever work is left to be done, so they can have their yards and their neighborhood back to normal.
“And that they find somebody that can do the work safely, and get the job done and move along. I’m kind of over it,” Larson said.
Vast also confirmed to KELOLAND News that the contractor crew that damaged the water main will no longer work for the company.
Vast says it remains committed to its $60 million investment in expanding its fiber network.