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Work continues on broken downtown water main

by: KOIN NEWS 6 - Water main break closed Burnside.Eastbound lanes of Burnside Street downtown were still closed Wednesday as work continues to repair a broken water main.

Because of the extent of the damage to a 100-year-old cast iron water main on Southwest Fourth Avenue at West Burnside Street, the maintenance crews from the Portland Water Bureau worked overnight but could not finish repairs by the morning rush hour.

Westbound traffic on Burnside will continue to be channeled into one lane past the work zone, with flaggers posted to ensure traffic safety. The northbound lanes on Fourth Avenue also remain closed at the intersections of Southwest Ankeny Street and Burnside until the work is completed.

Water bureau crews responded to the water main break at 12:45 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29. The aging 24-inch diameter pipe ruptured, sending water in all directions. The repair work will require the installation of 36 feet of new ductile iron water pipe.

The water main break may also have caused an unknown amount of sewage to flow into the Willamette River Tuesday. The city is warning people to avoid the river in some places because of the possible contamination.

Bureau of Environmental Services officials said the sewage overflow came from the Ankeny Pump Station at Waterfront Park near the Burnside Bridge. Water from the downtown water main break likely caused the overflow because the city’s combined sewer system collects runoff from streets and sewage in the same pipes.

Maintenance crews were able to stop the overflow at about 11 a.m.