MANTI— The Manti public works crew grappled with a one-two punch last week when efforts to handle a water main break on the east side of town led to a second break on Main Street.
The first pipe break at the intersection of 100 North and 300 East happened Tuesday Nov. 9 about 7:30 p.m. The second break on the west side of Main Street between the Manti Clinic and Old City Hall erupted about an hour later.
Cory Hatch, public works director, and some of his staff had already put in a regular work day Tuesday. They were on duty until 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10 replacing the two broken pipes.
“When I saw him (Hatch) today, he’d been awake for 30 to 45 hours,” Councilwoman Mary Wintch told the city council at a meeting Wednesday.
“Without a moment’s hesitation, our city crew was out taking care of the problem,” Mayor Korry Soper told the council. “… Not just Cory, but the whole staff.”
The response actually extended beyond the public works crew. Joanne Otten, city recorder, had a notice posted to the city’s website and Facebook page within 30 minutes after the first break.
About the same time, Soper himself, along with City Manager Kent Barton and some volunteers from the community were placing sandbags along 300 East and 100 North to keep water out of homes.
In the end, about 3 inches of water got into one home, Barton said. Water was shut off to two homes on 300 East for a few hours.
After the break on Main Street, water was cut off to the Manti Country Village and the medical clinic, but Hatch said within a short time he was able to feed the two properties from a different source.
Hatch said that 12-inch pipe that broke at 100 North and 300 East had been in the ground 20-years plus, possibly as long as 30 years. Water pipes are supposed to be placed in sand, but the pipe was resting on some rocks. That probably put some stress on it, he said.
Like nearly all culinary systems, the Manti system is programmed to start shutting down when a break occurs so the city doesn’t lose all the water stored in its tanks. But to completely stop the flow of water, four valves, located under manholes, had to be closed manually, Hatch said.
“It was dark, and they (the valves) were under water, but we were able to find them, move some gravel, get a key down and turn them off,” he said.
Once water to the pipe was shut off, the water system automatically started to regain pressure. That sudden burst of pressure is what apparently blew a hole in a 6-inch pipe on Main Street that Hatch said was old or possible defective.
Once water was shut off to the both broken pipes and action was taken to restore water to connections that had been shut off, Hatch and his crew replaced both pipes.