The stores at Seattle's University Village are back open, and the water is all gone after a water main break flooded the parking lots and streets Tuesday. Public Utilities crews were able to cut out and replace the damaged section of pipe by early Wednesday morning.
Engineers will study the broken section to see if it provides any clues about what went wrong. The section removed by utility crews has a long horizontal crack and a hole in the middle.
“Once the crack starts, the internal pressure wants to open the pipe up” Water Transmission and Distribution Director, Tony Blackwell explained.
Blackwell says water main breaks are fairly rare “we have one of the lowest leak loss rates.”
It's possible they will never know what caused this massive crack and break, but the rest of the 73-year-old pipe appears to be in good shape. “It shows no sign of corrosion,” Blackwell said.
The city says improvements to the drainage system in the University Village played a big role in keeping water out of stores. The system was upgraded after storms flooded the area in 2005 and 2006.
The city keeps detailed records about the water system and makes infrastructure improvements when needed. There were no signs that this was going to happen, but they'll study this broken pipe to see if it warns of other potential problems.