Some Blaine residents will be without running water for several hours this weekend, when a city contractor will perform emergency repairs to a broken water main near the intersection of Bell Road and Peace Portal Drive.
The water shut-offs come at a time when residents need water more than ever in order to wash their hands frequently during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Blaine city officials said that the emergency work is critical in order to prevent a catastrophic failure of the area’s water system, which could leave residents without water for many days on end.
“We recognize that these repairs are occurring at a difficult time and we apologize for any inconvenience,” said Blaine city manager Michael Jones in a press release. “It’s essential that we avoid a catastrophic failure from occurring, so we need to complete the work while staff and supplies are available.”
Colacurcio Construction has been hired by the city of Blaine to undertake final repairs of the water line that ruptured on March 6. The work includes replacing the leaking valve and replacing the water line that goes under Peace Portal Drive at Bell Road through steel casing. The project will also include some work in the 1200 block of Runge Avenue.
The work on Runge Avenue will take place on Thursday, March 26 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. The work on Peace Portal and Bell Road is planned from 8 p.m. on Friday, March 27 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 28. The repairs are needed to fix the leaking valve and provide support of the pipe that crosses the state highway.
“The valve that is at the Peace Portal and Bell intersection, it is unable to shut all the way off,” explained Blaine public works director Ravyn Whitewolf. “That’s part one. Part two is the steel casing under SR-548, the materials around the pipe. We’re very concerned about granular material potentially damaging the pipe.”
Whitewolf said that city staff have personally notified all businesses in the area that will be affected by water shut-offs. On March 24, households that will be affected received door hangers with details about the shut-offs, which are expected to last no more than several hours.
To assist the affected residents, the city of Blaine will be installing six portable toilets in the area. Whitewolf also recommended that residents fill up their bathtubs with water the day before, so that they can use a gallon jug to fill their toilet tank, allowing the toilet to still flush. She also suggested putting aside some bottles of water for drinking, as well as hand sanitizer if available.
“Residents and businesses that experienced water shut-offs on March 7 should be aware that shut-offs will occur again for both project areas and should plan accordingly,” said the release. “As part of the repair, additional valves will be installed that will reduce inconvenience when maintenance of this system occurs in the future. Please follow traffic control measures by avoiding this area, and utilize alternate routes if possible. Emergency vehicle access will be accommodated.”