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Tuesday, October 20, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sinkhole opens on North Perry

Line’s rupture may be result of old sealing technique

Grounds for removal: Ray Foster, left, and Steve McGoldrick of the Spokane Water Department toss chunks of asphalt into a bucket near the corner of Perry Street and North Foothills Drive in Spokane on Monday. Gushing water from a burst 12-inch cast iron water main caused a large sinkhole around 4 a.m. Monday. The section of Perry will be closed this week while the pipe is repaired. (Dan Pelle)
Grounds for removal: Ray Foster, left, and Steve McGoldrick of the Spokane Water Department toss chunks of asphalt into a bucket near the corner of Perry Street and North Foothills Drive in Spokane on Monday. Gushing water from a burst 12-inch cast iron water main caused a large sinkhole around 4 a.m. Monday. The section of Perry will be closed this week while the pipe is repaired. (Dan Pelle)

A section of Perry Street in north Spokane is closed this week for repairs needed after a water main break Monday 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 pipe 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.

The 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.

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