A section of Perry Street in north Spokane is closed this week for repairs needed after a water main break this morning.
About 2.4 million gallons of water spewed from a broken main in the northbound lane of Perry about 4 a.m., just north of North Foothills Drive.
Perry will be closed to traffic from Foothills to Fairview Avenue while city crews repair the 12-inch cast iron main and the damage caused by its rupture.
A forceful fountain leaking from the main tore a hole about a dozen feet in diameter through pavement and shot several feet into the air, said Water Director Frank Triplett.
Water flooded the road, hampering efforts to stop the flow, the intensity of which was increased because of the proximity of a 24-inch main that’s under North Foothills.
“There was just so much water in the intersection that they couldn’t get to the mains,” Triplett said.
Damage was contained to the street, though some of the water flowed to a nearby city Water Department building. Triplett said a couple of inches covered the concrete floor of the department’s welding shop but no damage was caused.
The broken pipe was installed in 1947. Triplett suspects the cause could be traced to a product the city used to seal pipe connections during and after World War II. He said because of a lead shortage, many mains were sealed using an alternative to lead that performs poorly when temperatures rise or fall quickly.
Mains from that era already are targeted for replacement as funds become available, he said.
The city will replace about a 50-foot stretch of Perry from curb to curb this week as a result of the damage, he said. About 15 homes lost water service during the incident. A temporary system restored that service soon after 9 a.m.
Along arterials most water pipes are 12 inches in diameter. Residential streets usually have six or eight-inch diameter mains.