published Thursday, February 24th, 2011, updated Feb. 24th, 2011 at 7:48 p.m.

Downtown water line repair could take weeks

  • photo
    TAWC employees Rick Stephens(CQ), left, and Lamar Jenkins(CQ) operate a valve at the corner of Main and Cowart Streets as water continues to flow up from under the sidewalk at the corner of Cowart and 14th Streets on Thursday in downtown Chattanooga. Water flow levels are less than they were Wednesday when a work crew accidentally drilled into a 24-inch water main, but remain substantial. Staff Photo by John Rawlston.

It could take two to three weeks to repair a 24-inch main that has been pouring water into Southside streets since Wednesday morning, officials say.

Tennessee American Water crews closed off most of the valves feeding the main early Thursday morning, although water flowed down Cowart Street the rest of the day because of one cracked valve, said John S. Watson, president of the water company.

The main was struck by an AT&T subcontractor drilling near the intersection of Cowart and 14th Street before noon Wednesday.

After the water is completely turned off and the company deems that the area is safe for workers to dig, they’ll start repairs.

“It isn’t like flipping a switch,” said Watson. “We had to maintain water for our customers throughout the city while finding ways to reroute its path.”

Though many businesses experienced periods of extreme low pressure Wednesday, Watson said water has been routed through other mains throughout the city and businesses should be back to their normal pressure tonight.

Contact staff writer Kate Harrison at or 423-757-6673.

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jpo3136 said...

I just got back from a downtown business near Main and 14th, and there's been more flooding tonight. Without warning, water started gushing up through the toilet. This indicates to me that the overflow problem has somehow begun to overwhelm some kind of nearby sewer line. It started flooding again at about 6:20 p.m. Things are not back to normal.

February 24, 2011 at 8:03 p.m.
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