Water main breaks Thursday night, flooding Molalla street
An eight-inch water main that ruptured on Thursday night in Molalla caused 19 homes to be without water until about 5 a.m. the next day.
The rupture occurred at about 6:15 p.m. around the middle of Storey Drive, near the elementary school on the west side of town, and proceeded to flood a significant portion of the street, according to residents in the area.
Molalla Public Works responded and completed repairs of the water main early Friday morning as they worked through the night. The maintenance division, operations supervisor, and public works director are investigating the cause of the rupture, according to a press release from the City of Molalla.
Storey Drive resident Nathan Williams said he heard the rupture occur and could feel it under his feet in his bedroom.
"I heard what sounded like a rattling, like something moving, which is why I first thought that it was a pipe since it sounded metallic," he said. "My mom thought it sounded like something had hit a car; it was loud."
Williams said he then went outside and saw the flooding of the street and proceeded to call 911.
"You could see it coming out of the ground, it wasn't like a projectile or anything, but you could see it bubbling from the crack in the ground," he said.
Photos and accounts indicate the water level rose to near the top of the tires on nearby vehicles, and the incident caused what appeared to be significant damage to at least one vehicle that was parked outside of a home. The owners of the vehicle said they had just bought it four days earlier.
Public works director Gerald Fisher said in the press release that residents may see maintenance division staff flushing waterlines throughout the city over the next few days to remove the turbidity from the water, which is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by numbers of individual particles in the fluid.
After the water had been drained from the streets, large amounts of sediment were left near where the rupture occurred as well as in other areas of the street and on residents' yards and driveways.
"Turbidity is typically caused by small, harmless particles in the waterlines that are dislodged when water speed and direction changes abruptly," the press release said. "Crews periodically flush the system to remove these particles but a rupture like the one that happened last night can disturb a large area within the system."
Other Molalla residents left comments on our initial report on Facebook, saying they were experiencing discolored water in their homes as well as a lack of water pressure. Others wondered if the burst pipe was related to the development of the Twin Meadows subdivision across from Storey Drive on the other side of Toliver Road. Fisher said there is no relation between the water main break to the Twin Meadows development, but a Facebook post from the City of Molalla said that some people may experience dirty water coming from taps in some areas.
"There is no cause for concern related to the quality of the water as the rupture was isolated to a small area consisting of 19 homes and crews were able maintain the minimum chlorine residual to those homes and throughout the system," the press release said.
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