ASHEBORO NC (ACME NEWS)- A water main break early Monday morning caused the tower on Church St to drain its more than 500,000 gallons in less than 30 mins.
City officials say they were made aware of the issue around 5:30 AM. The water main break caused a 5ft sinkhole to form at the base of the tower. That sinkhole formed directly under a cell tower utility building which caused it to fall into the hole. Crews were still pumping water out this afternoon and were waiting on a crane to come to remove the building.
The flowing water carried mud down onto Church St and Academy St. S Church st is closed between Sunset Ave and Wainman Ave. Several homes are without water and while city officials do not yet have a timeline for repairs, they say they keep working until repairs are completed.
UPDATE (Sept 20th 2021 7PM) – A crane has arrived and crews have started setting up to move a building which fell into a 5 ft sinkhole earlier this morning. The solid concrete building which belongs to Verizon houses equipment for the cell site on the top of the water tower. “We’ve got lights on the way and we’re not stopping” said Michael Rhoney, the Water Resources Director for the City of Asheboro. “Once that building is out of the way we can get to work.”
According to Asheboro Mayor David Smith water main break occurred at a cross type interaction of a 16 inch line and a 12 inch line. “One of the sides was plugged because there wasn’t a line on that side, that plug is what gave out, they found it this morning in the parking lot.,” said Mayor Smith. According to Rhoney the failure was likely due to aging equipment. “It’s an older water system, these things happen,” said Rhoney, who pointed out the tank was put in around 1939, and with good maintenance will last another 100 years. “We’ve got a company that comes in and inspects the tower every so often, and every couple years or so they even repaint the inside, It’s the stuff that’s buried that is the hardest to maintain” saud Mayor Smith.
One or two businesses on North Church St and Sunset as well as most of the residences around the tank are still without water, but Rhoney says he’s hoping to have water services fully restored by tomorrow morning or lunch time at the latest, “We got materials here to fix almost everything but we don’t know what we’ve got exactly until we get that building out of the way,”
UPDATE (Sept 21st 2021 9:30 AM) – S Church St is back open this morning after crews worked overnight to remove the concrete building from the sinkhole. The crane brought in late yesterday was able to lift the building and place it in the parking lot. With that done work crews were disassembling the crane in order to move it out of the way so Asheboro city employees could begin work.
Work will continue today however there is no timeline for when repairs will be complete.