North Loop water main break: The day after

A woman gets carried away from the site of yesterday's North Loop water main break.
A woman gets carried away from the site of yesterday's North Loop water main break.

Former City Pages web editor Jen Boyles lives in the Whitney Square building at 2nd Avenue North and 2nd Street in the North Loop, near where yesterday's water main break occurred.

SEE ALSO: Downtown Mpls water main break: No poop in the North Loop

Boyles and her fiance went to sleep last night still without running water, but hopeful their service would be restored by this morning. It didn't happen, and she called 311 to get an update. The word from the city? "Plan for it to be out until Sunday morning or Saturday evening," Boyles said.

Until then, Boyles and her fiance will rely on the kindness of nearby friends whose service has been restored and gallon-sized water jugs.

"It's something you take for granted and when it's not there it's really, really irritating," Boyles said. "I'm really wishing at this point I would've done the dishes the night before."

Between Whitney Square and another loft building that remains without water across the street, Boyles estimates about 500 residences are still waterless today, along with about 10 businesses near the intersection of 2nd & 2nd. She said the neighborhood is eerily quiet today, presumably because many of those stuck without water are staying elsewhere for the time being.

More information about the circumstances of yesterday's break comes via the Star Tribune:

Scott Beron, public safety director for the developer, Ryan Companies, said a subcontractor, United Sewer and Water, was boring under the street to hook up city utilities to the project when the break occurred. The crawler hoe that might have punctured the main fell onto its side as water gushed out and undermined the soil beneath it.

Before dawn Friday, a crane was positioned to pull the hoe from the scene.

City Attorney Susan Segal said Minneapolis will seek reimbursement from the party responsible for cleanup costs and other damages...

By the time workers shut off the water an hour and 20 minutes after it began to flow, nearby sidewalks were glazed in ice. As the water slowly ebbed, backhoes scraped layers of mud left behind while others covered the street in salt to break up the fast-forming ice and keep sewers open.

Just before 10 this morning, the Strib's Kelly Smith posted this image of the cleanup effort:

WCCO reports that the break spilled 14 million gallons of water onto downtown streets. Stretches of Hennepin Avenue, 1st Street, and 2nd Street remained closed this morning.

Boyles said that despite the inconvenience of not having water, it could've been worse. After the main break, her condo building's parking lot was flooded with five feet of water, partially submerging some cars.

"I'm really lucky to have been lazy and driven to work [yesterday] otherwise my car would be floating, because ground zero was right across from my building, and there was five feet of water in our lot," she said.

Though her mom tried to reassure her that a weekend without water "is gonna be like camping," Boyles said she plans to get out of town this weekend and visit her sister in Brainerd.

"I'm just crossing my fingers that what [the city] says will be true, and it won't be one of those things where it's like, 'now it's gonna be Wednesday, now it's gonna be Friday,'" Boyles said.

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