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Broken water pipe floods Gregory Avenue Extension

Repairs to a water pipe that broke last night were wrapped up early this morning as Sunnyside Public Works employees tamped down dirt on a large hole in the center of Gregory Avenue Extension, behind Sears and Taylor'd Footwear.

Public works employees had been on scene since shortly after 2 a.m. when water was first reported to be gushing from underneath the asphalt in the area, according to assistant water supervisor Dinnie Henderson.

Although they may never know all that happened to cause the 6-inch water line to blow-out, Henderson said it most likely started as a small hole and then the pipe broke in half.

"By the time we got here to shut it down we had a full six inches of water flowing," he said.

He said that it could have been that the pipe ruptured at the same time it broke in half.

"When we got it dug up we found that half the pipe was gone," he said.

The water crew had to dig two feet below the water main, which sits at four feet below ground level to make the repair.

Henderson believes what they call electrolysis caused the pipe to fail, creating a muddy pond of the narrow street. Electrolysis is the process of acids and alkali in the dirt reacting with the pipe, said Henderson.

"Pretty soon it just starts eating away at the pipe," he added.

Henderson said in the past 10 years this is the fourth time a section of that stretch of pipe has had to be replaced. In the past the city public works department has had to replace other portions that have eroded, causing floods. One of the last breaks, he said, flooded the old movie theater.

Henderson said most of the water flooding the area last night went down the drain, rather than pooling although, he added, some of the nearby businesses did experience some flooding.

The businesses which abut the road were without water most of the night, according to Henderson, but service was resumed by 8 a.m. this morning.

City water crews were laying rock along Gregory Avenue Extension and the surrounding parking areas this morning, which Henderson said is a temporary solution until the area can dry out. Once the street is dried out the city will re-blacktop the area.

Melissa Dekker/Daily Sun News

City water department employee Dinnie Henderson holds up a section of pipe that caused flooding on Gregory Avenue Extension this morning.

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