Joliet repairs water main break near hospital
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com July 3, 2012 2:04PM
Updated: August 5, 2012 6:23AM
JOLIET — A water main break in front of Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center’s outpatient care center entrance did not affect water service to the hospital Tuesday, but it did cut off water to nearby businesses, apartments and medical buildings on Madison Street.
Jim Eggen, the city’s director of public utilities, said the water main break was detected on the west side of Madison Street, just south of Glenwood Avenue, about 4 a.m.
At first, city workers thought they could fix the broken cast iron pipe with a repair sleeve. But after digging the area and finding a leaky valve, a wider area had to be shut off from water and the broken main section had to be cut out and replaced, Eggen said.
Some of the medical offices in the area were closed because of the lack of water. But the hospital has more than one water source; it was being fed by a main on Springfield Avenue, Eggen said.
Water was restored Tuesday.
While the mild winter and spring meant fewer water main breaks for the city, the hot, dry summer is causing more breaks than normal for this time of year, Eggen added. There were 40 water main breaks in June and six over the weekend.
When it’s hot and dry, the ground shrinks and cracks, and that spells trouble for the city’s aging water mains that get brittle over time, he said.
While the water main in front of St. Joe’s is 50 years old, there are some in the downtown and the near East Side that date back to the 1880s, Eggen said.
City Manager Tom Thanas said a study is under way now to determine how many water mains need to be replaced.
“Some of the pipes are 100 years old,” he said. “That’s why it’s important for us to have a plan in place.”
Eggen said one section of pipe that already is slated for replacement is along Jefferson Street from Infantry Drive to west of Barney Drive where there have been numerous recent water main breaks. That pipe will be replaced at the end of summer.
Eggen said the Madison Street water main was not due to be replaced until 2014, but because of Tuesday’s break, that project may be moved up because of its proximity to so many medical offices.