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St. Paul residents told tap water safe again

A water main that ruptured Friday night and spit 1.75 million gallons of water onto downtown streets has been repaired.

Article by: DAVID CHANEN , Star Tribune

Updated: February 10, 2013 - 7:14 PM

St. Paul residents, enjoy your tap water hassle-free once again.

A broken water main that sent 1.75 million of gallons of water into Lowertown streets is repaired, and residents no longer need to boil water, officials said Sunday.

"Customers can resume normal water usage," said Steve Schneider, general manager of St. Paul Regional Water Services. "The water distribution system's service and pressure have returned to normal."

Schneider said the broken pipe is fixed and that water testing shows no contaminants in the system. The water-boiling advisory was lifted in consultation with the Minnesota Department of Health.

The water main ruptured just before midnight Friday and led to residents in the downtown, West 7th and lower West Side neighborhoods being told they needed to boil tap water before drinking it.

It was a 61-year-old, 20-inch main that broke on Wall Street between 5th and 6th Streets near the Farmers Market, according to Jim Graupmann, production division manager of St. Paul Regional Water Services. It wasn't clear what caused the leak, but it wasn't damaged by a vehicle, he said. The pipe split in half horizontally, something he or the repair crew had never seen before.

The rupture caused a widespread drop in pressure beyond downtown, West 7th and the West Side across the Mississippi River, Graupmann said.

Some hospitals had to use reserve water supplies temporarily and restaurants in the area had to adjust their services.

The flooding came about a month after a more extensive break in downtown Minneapolis, where a 3-foot water main spewed 14 million gallons onto the streets, damaging dozens of vehicles and closing several businesses. The Minneapolis break, which happened when a contractor struck the pipe with a backhoe, is expected to cost the city at least $325,000.

David Chanen • 612-673-4465

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