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A second water main break hit the city this week, this time taking out water at eight homes near Cooper Park Wednesday morning.

City crews responded to a water main break that was reported at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday at the corner of South Seventh Avenue and Curtiss Street. One resident who woke up to what sounded like rushing water in his pipes said he saw water bubbling out of the pavement.

“The thing in the morning that was most surprising or unexpected was to look out and see water standing in the street,” said Dale Martin, who lives near the corner of Seventh and Curtiss.

John Alston, water and sewer operations superintendent for the city, said crews arrived at about 7 a.m. to start repairs, which were completed by early afternoon. There was a slit in a pipe that had to be replaced with a new section of pipe, Alston said.

Water Main Break, 7th and Curtiss

Water and sewer operator Adam Manlick clears dirt and debris away from a broken section of a water main so it can be removed and replaced on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021.

Water Main Break, 7th and Curtiss

Water sprays out from a long crack in a water main at the intersection of South 7th Avenue and West Curtiss Street on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021.

It was the second water main break in the city this week — on Monday, a water line break occurred at the corner of North Seventh Avenue and Lamme Street.

It took crews until Tuesday afternoon to repair the break, which took out water to three homes and the Domino’s Pizza.

The two leaks are unrelated, Alston said, though both pipes that caused issues are exceptionally old. The pipe on North Seventh was placed there in 1919, and the pipe on South Seventh is from 1904.

The city has about 17 or 18 miles of pipe that is over 100 years old, Alston said, but the city’s rate of water main breaks is well below the national standard.

The city’s gravity-fed system is more gentle on its pipes.

“We’ve dug up a lot of older main that’s just been in great condition,” Alston said.

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Nora Shelly can be reached at or 406-582-2607.

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