By Ashley Rader
A broken bolt in a water main turned a city street into a rushing waterway Tuesday afternoon.
Crews with the Elizabethton Water Department were working to replace a fire hydrant on Beech Street Tuesday at around 10:30 a.m. when a bolt sheared off from the cut-off valve releasing a large volume of high pressured water from a pipe.
Director of Utilities Johann Coetzee said that water mains going into a fire hydrant have an isolation valve to turn off water to the fixture so they can be replaced.
During the replacement process, a bolt on the live side of the valve broke and released the water being held behind the valve. The water then rushed down the steep city street.
“Beech Street is a steeper street,” Coetzee said. “The break sent water rushing down the hill toward Stateline Road and some was going down Maple Street.”
Coetzee said flooding homes and yards was a concern because the break occurred in a residential neighborhood. Crews built a gravel berm on Beech Street near the break to contain the water. He said crews also worked to close off other valves to stop the water, which can be a longer process than most people anticipate.