Water Main Breaks Affect 2 Dozen Businesses Near 41st And Memorial

Friday, June 6th 2014, 11:49 am
By: Emory Bryan

A water line that's at least 50 year old cracked Thursday night in east Tulsa, and by daylight, it had three breaks, interrupting water service at 41st Street and Memorial.

Three separate water line breaks along 41st Street near Memorial Drive have left 24 businesses without water.

The City of Tulsa said the first break, at 7940 E. 41st Street, happened about 5:45 p.m. on Thursday.

The second break took place just before 9 p.m. a few blocks west and another near the 7400 block happened about 6 a.m. on Friday.

The repairs are done on one of them, continuing on the other two, but the city hopes to finish sometime Friday night.

Store manager Tim Griffin marks the waterline from a flood that almost came in the door late Thursday. The water receded, and now there's no danger that anything is coming in the door, including customers.

"Our business is at a standstill until we get it repaired. We have a loyal clientele thankfully, but they're not going to wade through water and cones to get to us," said Griffin.

City crews have been working since late Thursday on a series of breaks on the same line. Three of them hit over a 12 hour span within a quarter mile of each other.

Blaine Parnell, with the City of Tulsa, said, "This moisture we've been getting, and we live in a clay belt here in east Tulsa, and that contracts and expands and plays havoc on these old water lines."

The 12-inch line handles water for a largely industrial area where some businesses had to close.

The city said 24 businesses were affected. Most didn't have to close, but at Vape City, Jerry Moskowitz wasn't getting many customers.

"I don't think the water has been as big a problem for us as it has been for our customers, they see all these trucks, add the cones and it's almost impossible to get to us," he said.

The work was complicated by a tangle of buried utility lines; so many of them it was delaying progress on the repair.

The city supervisor said the pipes that supply water here are at least 50 years old, and there are a lot of things that have been laid over them.

The age of the pipes make them more likely to break.

"We're a little bit concerned about the infrastructure like everybody else," Griffin said. "We know money is tight but are we really fixing things, or just putting band aids on it?"

The city said this line is due for overhaul in about 5 years. That will mean the entire thing is dug up and replaced.