The Brazil Water Department fought through multiple obstacles in repairing a water leak that sprung Friday.
"It was a really unusual chain of events that took place," City Water Superintendent Jake Raubuch said Saturday afternoon after he and the department worked more than 30 hours.
The leak was initially discovered and a 12-inch line along Murphy Avenue, approximately one-half mile south of United States 40, at about 8:30 a.m., Friday. After closing off the road from U.S. 40 to Pinckley Street, crews began attempting to dig down to surrounding valves to shut off the flow."
"We thought we would be able to avoid having to shut off the tower and a boil order," Raubuch told The Brazil Times.
However, the water department struggled to get through the thick concrete, and once they did, another obstacle was discovered.
"The line had been worked on in the past, but it had been filled in with sand under the road," Raubuch said. "With a consistent light rain during the day, every time we would take a bucket of sand out, it seemed like two more would slide down around the line."
Once crews were able to remove enough sand from the area, they found one of the repair clamps from previous work had come loose, and the leak had created an additional hole in the line.
"At the same time, we were not able to get enough valves shut off to stop the leak," Raubuch said. "It was then we knew we had to shut down the tower, which cut off water services to the city at about 7:30 p.m. (Friday)."
Raubuch added the department worked through two storms Friday night into Saturday morning, one of which was an electrical storm.
"A lot of lighting came with one of the storms," he said. "With us working near big metal, machinery, we had to keep tabs on what the storm was doing at all times to ensure everyone's safety."
As the storms broke and morning began to arrive, the department maintained its work on replacing a 3-4-foot section of the line as fast as the circumstances would allow.
"It was just a real bad situation overall with the thick concrete we had to drill through, the soil composition of sand which kept falling in as soon as we would take some out, and the storms during the night," Raubuch said. "But our crews worked extremely hard, including throughout the night, to get this fixed as soon as possible."
At about 3:20 p.m., Saturday, Raubuch told The Brazil Times the leak had been fixed and he was on his way back to the Water Treatment Plant to turn the well field and 750,000-gallon water tower back online. Several hours later, all Brazil water customers had service restored to their homes.
"When the tower has to be emptied, it takes a while for it to fill back up so it can distribute water to the customers and build up adequate water pressure," he said. "I apologize for the inconveniences the water shutoff causes resident and businesses, but I appreciate their patience as we worked on repairing the line."
With the tower having to be shut all the way down, and the pressure falling below 20 psi, state protocols require a boil order to be in place, and three Bac T samples must be sent to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management on at least two consecutive business days following a leak to ensure no contamination has occurred.
"We will be taking the samples on Monday and Tuesday, and pending those results, we should hear something Wednesday afternoon about potentially lifting the boil order," Raubuch told The Brazil Times.
The boil order affects water customers in Brazil, Carbon, Center Point, Harmony and Knightsville.
The following instructions are suggested during a boil order to ensure water is safe for consumption or cooking:
* Strain the water through either a cheesecloth, coffee filter, or other clean, porous material to remove as many solid particles and dirt as possible,
* Bring the water to a rolling boil for one minute,
* Let the water cool. Pour into a container that has been boiled or sanitized with chlorine bleach, and
* To preserve the quality of the water, refrigerate the water until use.
In case of future water emergencies, local officials stated they do have an emergency alert system. To be added to the notification list, call 448-1539 during regular business hours.