Milligan water line break cuts off water to hundreds of homes Tuesday

Published 9:52 am Thursday, March 26, 2015

NW0325 Milligan Water

An estimated 800 city water customers found themselves without water Tuesday night after a major water line break in the Milligan and Central communities.

A 6-inch water line on Sparks Road broke around 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Elizabethton water department crews had the line repaired around 11:30 p.m., Elizabethton Director of Utilities Johann Coetzee said.

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The disruption knocked out water service to 800 customers in the Central, Rio Vista, Happy Valley and portions of the Milligan College areas.

“The water was turned back on by midnight,” Coetzee said.

After the water line repairs were complete, crews continued working to flush the water line system to make sure all the dirt and debris from the leak were out of the lines. At around 1 a.m. Wednesday, the first round of flushing was completed and crews tested the water system again at 7 a.m.

“We went out and tested the water to make sure everything was okay and the water quality was where it needed to be,” Coetzee said.

While the exact cause of the break is hard to determine, the water department believes the changing seasons played a big role in the damage to the water line.

“This time of year we do see a higher number of water line breaks associated with ground movement,” Coetzee said. “It has to do with the winter freeze and spring thaw cycle. The movement in the soil sometimes causes the lines to break.”

The water department received almost 150 calls from customers on Tuesday evening concerning the outage.

The department recalled employees to answer calls because of the magnitude of service disruption associated with the line break.