Water line break interrupts service in Central, Milligan communities

Published 9:06 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A major water line break left multiple homes without water Tuesday night in the Milligan College and Central communities.

A 6-inch water line off of Sparks Road near Happy Valley Elementary School broke around 5 p.m., Elizabethton Director of Utilities Johann Coetzee said. The number of customers affected by the line break was undetermined Tuesday night, but the areas without water were in the Central, Rio Vista, Happy Valley and portions of the Milligan College areas.

“It is hard to tell exactly how bad the break is at this point,” Coetzee said. “There have been a number of homes affected by this.”

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Crews were also still working to determine what had caused the water line to break, Coetzee said.

“From time to time, a line will break,” he said. “This pipe has probably been in the ground for more than 22 years. There could have been a weakness in the pipe. It is hard to say at this point.”

As of 8:30 p.m., crews had cut into the road to make their way to the break and were preparing to start working on repairs to the pipe, Coetzee said. Before crews could begin digging to repair the break, the city had to make an emergency Tennessee 811 call to notify other utilities about the repair work.

“Before we can excavate, we have to notify the other utilities,” Coetzee said. “There was a delay of about two hours while we waited for that.”

Because the break occurred on a major line, the Elizabethton Water Department called the office staff back to work to answer calls from customers about the issue.

“Usually after hours we have an answering service,” Coetzee said. “When we have a large case such as this, we bring the staff back in so that we can communicate the best we can with the public. We are putting all of our resources to this.”