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Water Main Break Impacts Businesses; Repairs being Made

Posted at: 01/01/2013 8:19 PM
Updated at: 01/02/2013 9:17 PM
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Thousands of gallons of water gushed from a water main break beneath Superior St. in Duluth on Tuesday.

The leak started in front of the the Minnesota Power building just west of Lake Ave. The water headed east causing a problem for the manager of the Electric Fetus.

“There was a lot of water in the street. It was over a foot deep and it was rushing like a river. It was crazy and it's cold,” General Manager Carrie Brown said.

She said Pizza Luce gave her a few bags of flour to act as makeshift sandbags, but that couldn't keep all the water out.

“It left a lot of mud and we got a lot of water in our lower level. It went under the door down into the Michigan St. lobby it came in through the sidewalk,” Brown said.

She said repairs will cost thousands of dollars, but thankfully the store is still open for business.

Brent Johanson opened the Minnesota Wine Exchange on Saturday on the corner of Lake Ave. and Superior St.

“Oh I was scared, you know, we just got this thing off the ground and we've been holding our breath for probably the last three or four months just hoping to open the place up," Johanson said.

His store didn't take on any water, but he said his staff got the day off.

“We can pour a glass of wine. We are open, but limited,” Johanson said.

The break occurred in a 125-year-old water main.

Mayor Don Ness said this highlights the city's need to update its water and sewer infrastructure. He said the repair costs are adding up. 

“We're spending resources one way or the other. In my mind it would be better for us to spend it on fixing the infrastructure permanently,” Ness said.

This is one of the largest mains in Duluth, but city officials say over 150 smaller breaks occur every year.

Crews were still working on the one block section of Superior St. Wednesday evening. The hole they dug was massive, but city officials said the street will be open to traffic sometime Thursday.