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Floods interrupt water service in City of Oxford

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Oxford city employee John Oliver finished up a temporary repair on April 28, so that water service could be restored to the city. Many Oxford water customers lost service on April 26. The problem was eventually traced to a water line, which runs through Sandy Creek. It was damaged by the force of rushing flood water in the creek. Photo by Richard Irby [Order this photo]
Flooding was blamed on a problem which left many Oxford residents without water for more than 36 hours, and resulted in a "boil water" advisory for all customers.

According to Mayor Mike Warden, water customers on the west side of town lost water service on Tuesday night, April 26.

After walking water line routes and failing to find a leak, city workers concluded a pipe running through a creek or river must have been damaged.

After the water level of Sandy Creek, south of Oxford, began falling, workers found the problem about 6:30 a.m. on April 28.

"We could see a four inch pipe, which runs through the creek, was bowed from the force of the water," said Warden. "The pipe eventually cracked and we could see water gushing out (into the creek).

Because the creek was still high, crews decided to temporarily block off the damaged line and re-route water, so service could be restored.

Because of the break in service, the Oxford Water Company issued a boil water advisory.

The advisory was expected to be in place for several days. The city cannot give the "all clear" until water samples sent to Little Rock can be tested to verify there is no contamination.

Since city crews had to give priority to restoring water service, they worked through the weekend to try to catch up on repairing water damaged streets.

"We are dealing mainly with washed out sections of roads and re-establishing ditches," said Warden.

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