published Monday, February 28th, 2011

4-foot gash found in water main

  • photo
    TAWC workers continue to work on the broken water pipe outside of Niko's Saturday afternoon in Chattanooga, Tenn. Works have successfully located the leak and are now working to remove the damaged piece. Staff photo by Jenna Walker

As workers removed a 10-foot section of the broken water main running under Cowart Street on Sunday, they got to take a good look at the source of the leak that flooded the Southside on Wednesday: a gash about 4 feet long and about 1 1/2 feet wide.

Crews cut and lifted out the 10-foot section Sunday afternoon and now will begin the next steps in repairing the pipe, which ruptured while an AT&T subcontractor was drilling underground to lay fiber-optic cable.

After the ruptured section was loaded into a truck and taken to Tennessee American Water, crews shin-deep in mud continued to use sledgehammers and crowbars to pry other parts of the pipe loose.

“After they clean it all out we’ll start the next step of joining the main back together,” Tennessee American spokeswoman Kim Dalton said.

An inspector with AT&T, who declined to give his name, watched the process and said he was going to be reviewing the entire sequence of events leading up to and following the pipe’s rupture.

So far, AT&T has refused to comment about possible settlements with Tennessee American and with water-damaged businesses, saying an investigation was pending.

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