A broken water main in a Boulder neighborhood has been steadily leaking water for nearly two weeks, turning nearby streets into ice rinks and causing headaches for residents and city officials alike.
Boulder resident Barry Schacht first noticed the steady stream of water flowing down Sixth Street near his home on University Avenue on Christmas Eve and called 911 about the problem. Though a fire truck responded to the scene, the water didn’t stop flowing, Schacht said.
Since then, water has run into the street for from behind a home at the end of Hapgood Street, down Jay Street, hanging a right onto Pleasant Street and then flowing down Sixth Street, petering out near Arapahoe Avenue.
The water has left streets and sidewalks covered in thick layers of ice and nearly caused several accidents, according to Jay Street resident David Young.
At first, Young thought the water was snowmelt and the problem was from a change to the drainage after the road was repaved in August.
“The water’s never moved like this before, covering the entire street,” Young said, looking down as water continued to run over the iced-over road at his feet.
Young’s had difficulty parking because of the ice and has seen several near misses as vehicles slip and slide past his house, though a city truck was spraying red gravel onto the road on Friday morning to help with traction.
The reason it’s taken so long to fix the leak is because the water main is hard to access, said city spokeswoman Julie Causa.
“A leak was reported two weeks ago and a team has been working on identifying where that leak is,” Causa said. “It’s a tough area to access with rugged terrain, and the water pipe is buried 10½ feet underground.”
A crew will drill into the ground on Monday to replace the pipe, Causa said, resulting in water being shut off to nine homes in the neighborhood Monday morning into the early afternoon.
Those homes have been notified that their water will be turned off, Causa said.
Schacht said he’s less frustrated now that he knows how difficult the area is to access, but said he still thinks more could have been done.
“I understand there’s difficulty, but they should have thrown everything at this thing,” he said. “They need to communicate with the neighborhood and do something to mitigate those icy patches.”