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Main breaks close street, don't disrupt service


Brian O'Connor/ Wrangell Sentinel

A main break along St. Michael's Street forced the street's closure Monday. Two water main breaks struck this week, though Public Works officials say at most service to one house may have been interrupted for a few hours.

Water main breaks at two locations this week kept borough crews busy.

The first break caused the closure of St. Michael's Street twice during the week, most recently on Monday afternoon. Another break hit the main supplying water to Wrangell Medical Center and Evergreen Elementary School in front of Senior Housing, said Public Works Director Carl Johnson.

In both cases, materials used to construct the mains were responsible, Johnson said. The mains use ductile iron, or iron pipes with a cement lining, Johnson said.

"Ductile iron hasn't performed as well as the engineers had hoped," he said. "We're not seeing the service life we expected."

Wrangellites may be accustomed to

freeze-related water main breaks in the past, but that wasn't the case this week, Johnson said.

"It really has nothing to do with anything going on outside," he said. "We have a number of water breaks throughout the year."

Contemporary pipes are typically made from high-density polyethylene plastic, he said.

In either case, public works personnel were able to run temporary lines to effected homes and businesses. Service was never interrupted for the medical center or school, and some houses near the St. Michael's Street break may have experienced water outages for at most an hour or two, Johnson said.


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