Some businesses and residents in the centre of Fort Smith, N.W.T. continue to be without water after a water main and sewage line broke almost three weeks ago.

The town says a water main broke about three weeks ago and that in turn caused a sewer line to break. The basements of several buildings including town hall were flooded with water containing raw sewage.

The town says it has to replace a 12-metre section of the water main.

Mayor Brad Brake says repairs were delayed as they waited for the necessary equipment.

"We phoned last week on a hydrovac truck and the earliest we could get it here was yesterday," he said. "It's that time of year, it's that busy season, that's where we are."

Janie Hobart, president of the local chamber of commerce, acknowledges the town and contractors are working to fix the problem, but says business are suffering in the meantime.

"Some businesses have taken it upon themselves to create a makeshift situation so that they can flush toilets so they are able to stay open, and some other businesses have not been as fortunate and some are more dependent on water than others," she said.

"Anytime your business is closed, it means that you're not able to bring in revenue." 

The problem pipes were installed in the 1950s. Brake says some suspect the ground may have shifted and that's what caused the break.

An assessment of the system will be done this summer, he says.