Major water main break closes 82nd Avenue

See crews working, in freezing weather, to fix a burst pipe that was installed more than a century ago …

SE 82nd Avenue of Roses is closed in outer East Portland, after a large section of buried water main ruptures.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Along SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, just south of Foster Road, motorists and police officers alike noticed water bubbling up through the pavement on December 15, at about 8:30 p.m.

Neighbors living along SE Ellis Street, as they became aware of the problem, said they were concerned that their basements might be flooded, because much of the water coming up from several cracks in the street was flowing westward down their street, and running into the combined sewer system drains.

Looking toward Lents, across SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, a lake of Bull Run water forms on SE Ellis Street.

In the middle of the avenue, and at the eastern curb, brown muddy water bubbles up out of the pavement.

A handful of Portland Water Bureau (PWB) workers were soon at the scene, and with long rods in hand, worked to shut off the water main at valves about a block south, at SE Woodstock Boulevard.

By midnight, PWB crews had brought in heavy equipment, including a front-loader tractor with a backhoe, and SE 82nd was completely closed down in preparation for the needed excavation down to the broken pipe.

With a rat-a-tat-a-tat, a jackhammer mounted to the backhoe punched holes into the street.

A PWB supervisor looks at water gushing up from the S.E. 82nd.

According to the PWB, the burst water main was an 8-inch cast iron pipe, installed in 1912.

he work continued overnight, and into the following day, as Water Bureau workers explored the excavated area, looking for the ruptured pipe. “The volume of water in the break suggests that significant sections of the pipe will need to be removed and replaced,” a PWB spokesperson remarked.

In a trench, workers replace a large section of pipe.

Water to several businesses in the area, and to homes along SE Ellis Street between SE 78th and SE 82nd, was shut off as repairs got underway.

Throughout the afternoon crews plumbed in about 30 feet of new water main pipe and replaced a line valve. After the pipe was repaired and water service restored, the PWB turned street repair over to Oregon Department of Transportation road crews.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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