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Richmond Heights water main break triggers boil advisory for multiple communities

The water main break also caused the closure of Highland Road from Trebisky to Georgetown.

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio — A water main break in Richmond Heights is making an impact on multiple cities early Tuesday morning. As a result, some residents are waking up with no water or low water pressure in multiple communities. Some schools also closed due to the issue.

Cleveland Water has issued a precautionary boil alert after officials said “organisms that cause illness in people may have entered the water supply.” The areas impacted by the boil alert include portions of the following communities:

  • Richmond Heights
  • Highland Heights
  • Lyndhurst
  • South Euclid
  • Mayfield
  • Mayfield Heights
  • University Heights
  • Gates Mills

CLICK HERE to see if your specific address is included in the boil advisory. It’s expected the boil alert will remain in effect through Wednesday, Dec. 1. 

Credit: Cleveland Water
The highlighted areas are impacted by the boil alert until further notice.

“Bring water to a rolling boil and let it boil for at least three minutes,” officials with Cleveland Water said. “Let the water cool before using or use bottled water. Store boiled water in a container covered with a lid and if possible in the refrigerator. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation until further notice.”

WHAT HAPPENED

Statement from Cleveland Water:

At 4:19 a.m. on November 30, staff at our Nottingham Water Treatment Plant noticed a significant drop in pressure from their second-high service pumps indicating a large transmission main failure.

Crews were dispatched to locate the issue and quickly determined that a break occurred on a 54-inch transmission main on Highland Road near Catlin Drive in Richmond Heights. Once on site, crews began operating valves to isolate the break, control the flow of water, and restore pressure to affected customers. 

This 54-inch water main break on Highland Road is on a water main not used for direct service to customers. However, it may also cause additional disruptions in water quality including discolored water and/or potentially a temporary increase in lead levels in the drinking water. As a precaution, you may wish to use a water filter certified to remove lead to temporarily filter your water used for drinking, cooking and brushing your teeth. Manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly use the filter, including when the filter should be changed, are included with the filter and should be read prior to use.

As a standard practice the USEPA recommends the following actions to reduce possible lead exposure in drinking water:

FLUSH: If water has not been used for several hours, run the tap until there is a noticeable temperature drop. Then, run water for 30 seconds to 3 minutes before using it for drinking and cooking. This helps flush water that may have contained lead that may have leached from plumbing.

CLEAN: Clean your faucet aerator regularly and after disruptions to water service.

CONSUME COLD: Use cold water for cooking, drinking, and preparing baby formula. Boiling the water will not reduce lead. Hot tap water may contain higher levels of metals than cold.

WHAT IS BEING DONE?

We issued a boil alert at approximately 8 a.m. due to water pressure in the affected area dropping below acceptable levels. When this happens, there is a potential for pathogens to enter the water system.

At approximately 10 a.m. crews had the main shut off completely and pressure began returning to normal for affected customers.

Due to the size of the main, the break resulted in a large volume of water being released causing no or low pressure for numerous customers and damage to the roadway.

Highland Road is closed from Catlin Drive to Trebisky Road by Richmond Heights Police Department who have detour signs posted.

We are investigating and taking the necessary steps to correct the problem as soon as possible. For more information, please contact Cleveland Water at 216-664-3060 or 1201 Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, 44114. Information will also be posted online at http://ClevelandWater.com.

As mentioned above, the break itself has caused the closure of Highland Road from Trebisky to Georgetown. It’s unclear how long the roadway will remain closed, but we’re told crews are at the scene working to fix the issue. Drivers are advised to take an alternate route until further notice.

The Richmond Heights Police Department addressed the issue with the following post on Facebook: 

Due to water 💦 main leak, Highland Road will be closed from Trebisky to Georgetown. Use alternate routes. Thanks

Posted by Richmond Heights Police Department on Tuesday, November 30, 2021

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"Thank you for this information," one person wrote in the comments. "We are without water in South Euclid. I’m grateful to know why, and I hope it’s fixed soon! Those poor homeowners. What a mess."

Another commented their water was "at a trickle."

A PLAN FOR PREVENTING FUTURE BREAKS?

This particular water main is a 54-inch transmission main constructed of prestressed concrete and installed in 1957. Transmission mains are like highways, they move water from treatment plants and pump stations to smaller distribution mains, meaning no homes or fire hydrants are directly connected to it.

Due to the number of breaks, a permanent solution has been in progress. The designs for a major capital improvement project to renew the main are near completion. The project will install a 3,887-foot-long steel liner inside the main. The cost of the project is estimated at $6.5 million. Public bids for the construction of the project are expected early in the first quarter of 2022. Two additional phases of renewal for the main are in the planning stages and will address the remainder of the main.

Cleveland Water has over 5,300 miles of water mains in our distribution system. We invest approximately $25 million a year in capital funds a year to replace and renew aging water mains throughout our service area. 

No additional details were immediately available, but stay with 3News as we will update this story if officials release any additional information.

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