UPDATED: Water Main Break in Crystal City

by ARLnow.com August 31, 2012 at 10:29 am 7,942 26 Comments

(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) A major water main break has shut down a number of roads in Crystal City.

For at least an hour, water was spraying about 5 feet in the air out from buckled pavement at the intersection of 12th Street and S. Clark Street. Arlington County crews managed to shut off several valves, which reduced but did not stop the water flow for several hours. As of now, the water flow has been stopped, but not before it created a large pond in and around the intersection.

The water came from a rupture in a 12-inch water main, according to Arlington County Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel. As a result of work to stop the water flow, several large nearby buildings — 200 and 201 12th Street S.; 1215, 1225 and 1235 S. Clark Street; and the North Tract Loft apartments — had their water supply cut.

“They’re working right now to isolate the break so that they can restore water to the buildings and any affected businesses,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck earlier.  Water has since been restored to all but one of the buildings.

During the height of the water main break, workers were encouraged to move their cars from nearby underground parking garages, as a precaution due to flooding, Sternbeck said.

The water also flowed down Long Bridge Drive toward 10th Street S. and “gushed” into the Boeing construction site for several hours, officials say. Crews deployed measures to stop the water from flowing into the site and are now pumping water out from the construction pit.

In a statement, authorities said the construction site will need to be stabilized before work can continue on the large, economically significant project.

Arlington County’s Chief Building Official, Shahriar Amiri, today ordered the Boeing Co.’s Crystal City construction site, located near 10th St. S and S. Ball Street, closed in the wake of this morning’s water main break. The break in a 12-inch water main sent water gushing into the site this morning. Construction is halted while the water is pumped out and structural engineers assess the damage and take whatever measures necessary to stabilize the shoring and sheeting, Amiri said. No evaculation orders have been issued at this time for surrounding buildings. County inspectors will continue to monitor the site and work with the structural engineers.

The latest list of road closures include Long Bridge Drive from 12th Street to a private driveway being used to divert traffic from Crystal Drive, 12th Street from Army Navy Drive to 15th Street, 10th Street at Long Bridge Drive, and S. Clark Street at the intersection with 12th.

Work to dig up the street and repair the water main could take up to one or two days. The intersection is expected to remain at least partially closed until the work is complete.

  • DarkHeart

    3 articles before 11am? A record?

  • Regis

    Sounds like a claim from the contractor at the Boeing job could be pending.

    • Regis

      Yeah, water in that Boeing site will ruin your day. It’s not so much the water down in the pit, but if it was back in the soils behind the shoring it can wreck the calculations used for the retaining structure.

      • Cathy Lee

        They’re probably the cause of the break.

  • Jackson5

    Any idea when this started? My water pressure seemed low this morning in Fairlington…but maybe it was the lack of coffee

    • WeiQiang

      Some time after 0905, which is when I went through that intersection.

      • CW

        Guess we know who is to blame…were you driving a tank?

      • Jackson5

        Thanks!! Must have been the coffee

    • South Side Chris

      Fairlington pressure was indeed low this morning. Is Fairlington the harbinger of water main doom?

      • SomeGuy

        How can we be sure you’re in Fairlington vs. a neighborhood adjacent to Fairlington?

  • Joe Hoya

    Breaking news. Literally.

  • mercadow

    Yep, we noticed the low water pressure in N. Fairlington. I reported the low water pressure to our HOA and inquired about any possible water main breaks. They were clueless and just said, “Sorry can’t help you, that’s an Arlington County thing. We’ll post something on the website when we hear of anything. Thank you.” I get that. But a little empathy would’ve been nice.

    • Ralph

      Well, if empathy is what you want, posting on Arlnow is exactly the right thing to do.

    • GetReal

      What…would you like them to provide a couch for some therapy? Their job is to run your HOA, not dish out empathy. They don’t control water pressure, and you’re certainly not going to get empathy from Arlington County.

    • CW

      Maybe they posted some pictures of crying puppies and a heartfelt apology on the website? Did you check it?

  • WeiQiang

    Just closed my building in the Gateway complex. The water level has risen to the 6th floor. We’re evacuating to the roof. That is all.

  • Batman

    Image 2 must have been taken with the mugshot cam.

  • z

    I wanted to go play in the water but the nice man said that wouldn’t be a good idea.

  • drax

    The water pressure in Donaldson Run is just fine.

    I win.

  • soarlslacker

    Damn. I can’t take the dogs to Long Bridge Park today! at least my street is not a flooded mess.

  • Erik

    To anyone who knows stuff about this: seems that these are mostly products of cold weather in the winter and spring. Are breaks of this size rare in warmer times?

    • Richie

      They are pretty common in warm weather as well, but predominantly occur in the cold season.

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    Can anyone say “aquatic center?”

  • And now we have another main break at 20th & Joyce. They came and put some cones up and said they are too busy to take care of it right now, so gallons of water gushing down the drain each minute.

  • Michael H.

    Just wondering about how much this would affect the Boeing construction site. Wouldn’t there be far more water pouring into the site during a heavy rain shower than from a water main break? We’ve had a couple heavy storms over the past month. I’m not a weather scientist but it seems like that would result in far more water flooding into the pit than from the water main today.

    Anyone know more about the details on this?

    • Suburban Not Urban

      You don’t need a weather scientist – you need a civil engineer or hydrologist.


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