St. Paul water main break makes for wet mess in Lowertown - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

St. Paul water main break makes for wet mess in Lowertown

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

A 20-inch water main sent more than a million gallons of water gushing into the streets of downtown St. Paul on Saturday, affecting thousands of water customers along West 7th Avenue.

The affected area ran from Interstate 35E to the west, Highway 52 to the east, University Avenue to the north and the bluff line along the south.

The rupture created quite a mess on Wall Street, which is right in the heart of Lowertown.

Crews responded just before midnight on Friday and quickly isolated the blowout, but a full block was ravaged by an estimated 1.75 million gallons of water.

"It looks like an earthquake," Lowertown resident Audrey Evelan told FOX 9 News. "We didn't realize it was that bad."

Anna Froelich said she heard the rupture from the fourth floor of her apartment building, which sits right above the 60-year-old main.

"It was kind of like a big pop -- pretty loud," she recalled.

Froelich had just moved in on Friday, and after a day of painting and unpacking, she said the water main break left her without a shower and feeling pretty grimy.

Yet, residents in the immediate area weren't the only ones affected by the break. Residents in a large swath of the city were put under a boil water notice due to a disruption in water pressure.

"There's a potential for something to get in the main. We don't know what that is -- bacteria, volatile compound," explained Jim Graupmann, of St. Paul Regional Water Services. "Very unlikely, but it's a precaution we need to take."

That early-morning advisory sent many scrambling to find bottled drinking water.

"It's coming out pretty gross," Evelan said. "Don't want to drink it."

The break also led the Xcel Energy Center to turn off all water fountains before the Minnesota Wild took to the ice. Fans were advised to drink bottled water instead, and water was sold on-site for a discounted price.

Officials are not yet sure what caused the main to break, but experts estimate long-term corrosion played a factor.

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