Fracture in roughly 90-year-old water main makes messy morning in St. John's
Water flooded area of Bonaventure Avenue, Margaret's Place Wednesday morning
A break along the top of a water main installed in the 1930s sent water gushing through the Bonaventure Avenue are of St. John's Wednesday morning, damaging a nearby condominium building and briefly triggering a retirement home's evacuation plan.
"It seems as though the water main broke right along the top and it was just a split, so like a fracture right along the top of the water main," said Lynnann Winsor, deputy city manager of public works.
City crews found the problem water main, near the Sobeys supermarket and liquor store on Merrymeeting Road, and shut off water for the area.
They started repair work late Wednesday morning, with completion expected by 8 p.m.
Winsor said it was a large 40-centimetre transmission line that was damaged.
"That's why there would have been more water than normal this morning," she said.
"To the best of my knowledge, [it] was probably put in place around the 1930s."
Winsor said water main breaks are more prevalent in the fall and spring, when temperatures fluctuate, and it's difficult to estimate the cost of the break, but crews were already on shift.
Schools in the area were among the buildings – including Sobeys on Merrymeeting Road – without water Wednesday.
Students and staff are out for Easter Break and the Newfoundland English School District said there's no damage to the buildings.
'Waterfall coming down'
Early Wednesday morning water was pooling against the front of the Kings Gate Condominiums on Margaret's Place, a cul-de-sac off Newtown Road.
Ray Miller, president of the condominium association, said he was woken up at 5 a.m. after a resident heard a rush of water "and looked outside their unit and saw a waterfall coming down the rock wall between us and Holy Heart."
A look inside the basement of the retirement home. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nltraffic?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#nltraffic</a> <a href="https://t.co/Br7yTYTIBv">pic.twitter.com/Br7yTYTIBv</a>—@geoffcbartlett
Miller said water was up "about a foot" against the garage and in the lobby by 8:30 a.m.
"I'm very surprised, being where we're positioned. I never would have thought we would have had a flooding issue since we are up fairly high," he said.
He'd never seen flooding of this magnitude. Fortunately, though, none of the condo units were damaged and the garage doors seem to have prevented serious damage to vehicles.
The condominium board called in Belfor Property Restoration to help mitigate the damage, but Miller said it would take a while to dry out the lobby and replace the drywall and flooring.
The scene between Holy Heart and King’s Court Condos. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nltraffic?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#nltraffic</a> <a href="https://t.co/Ki7szdokw3">pic.twitter.com/Ki7szdokw3</a>—@geoffcbartlett
"There's still going to be a substantial effort to get this back to the way it was," he said.
Water was pouring down the hill alongside Holy Heart of Mary High School, and then onto Margaret's Place, before heading to Bonaventure Avenue.
Water freezing into an icy mess. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nltraffic?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#nltraffic</a> <a href="https://t.co/QZM70Fze92">pic.twitter.com/QZM70Fze92</a>—@geoffcbartlett
It was freezing in some spots with the morning's cold temperatures, and crews were heavily salting the area.
Water seem to be coming from building on Newtown Road, not the condo building itself. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nltraffic?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#nltraffic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcnl?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#cbcnl</a> <a href="https://t.co/1VS6bzeM54">pic.twitter.com/1VS6bzeM54</a>—@geoffcbartlett
With files from Geoff Bartlett and Jennifer Grudic