Another water main ruptures under 82nd Avenue

See a hard-working Portland Water Bureau crew, out in freezing weather, fixing another old pipe that burst – on the edge of the Lents neighborhood …

Water bubbling up through the pavement on SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, here in outer East Portland, is a sure sign of a broken water main, deep below the street.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Water bubbling up through pavement of SE 82nd Avenue and Ellis Street, a block south of Foster Road in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood, was a troubling sign of problems deep below, for Portland Water Bureau (PWB) crews on the evening of February 21.

This water main rupture was mere feet south of a previous major break on December 15, 2016. [To read our coverage of that repair, CLICK HERE].

A PWB worker winces at being showered with icy cold Bull Run water while investigating the water main break.

To assess and repair the damaged water pipe, crews shut down one northbound lane and one southbound lane of SE 82nd Avenue for several hours – unlike that 2016 rupture, which closed the entire thoroughfare for more than day.

Bundled up against the wind, as the temperature dropped near freezing, the PWB workers located and then excavated the pipe break just after 7:00 p.m. that evening.

As water jets up from a vertical break in a very old pipe, PWB workers devise a plan to fix it.

Water sprayed out of the mid-street excavation as workers slid in steel trenching safety plates.

“This was due to a vertical break of a 1912 pipe,” confirmed PWB Public Information Officer Jaymee Cuti to East Portland News. “That’s the most straightforward [type] to repair, in most cases.”

Water sprays from the lateral fracture in this water main. PWB image

Lateral failures, Cuti explained – such as the one on the same block two years ago – are more difficult to repair, because they require a larger excavation, complete removal of the old pipe, and installing a new pipe, before restoring the roadway. “We cut out and replaced 50’ of pipe during the 2016 break,” she pointed out.

The vertical break is much easier to repair; crews apply a “repair clamp” around the break to make repairs rather than replacing the pipe.

About ten service addresses lost water pressure during the overnight repair.

Throughout the night, PWB crews work to patch an aging water main.

The next morning, most motorists driving over repair site weren’t aware of the work done overnight; the patch was smoother than a great deal of the regular pavement on this State Highway.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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