Pipe burst that caused Montgomery County water crisis still under investigation


    DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - City leaders have figured out where the a water break that caused water to go out for thousands happened, but they're now working to answer another question: why.

    The city is not sharing the exact location of where that break happened for security reasons, only that it was somewhere underneath the Great Miami River.

    "From everything we can tell now, this appears to be an isolated incident,” director of Dayton’s water department Michael Powell said.

    Powell expressed confidence in the city's water system on Monday, despite the fact that the cause of last week's mass outage is still unknown.

    "We are still evaluating where the break occurred, which kind of pipes it’s connected to and all those sorts of things,” Powell said

    One of the reasons for his confidence is that the city's system is redundant, which is how water service is back to normal even though the main is still broken.

    “The arrangement of water lines look no different than the arrangement of streets,” professor of civil engineering at the University of Dayton Donald Chase said. “So if the street is closed for whatever reason, you can certainly detour around it. So the water just detours different paths."

    Chase said that even though there's a lot that’s still unknown, the fact that we do know it was a 36-inch concrete pipe installed in 1991 could help narrow down how it broke.

    ”A newer pipeline made of concrete – the reason it might break could be due to internal pressure surges,” Chase said. “It could be some ground movement. Anything that could cause some movement of the pipeline could cause it to break.”

    However, until the river levels go down, both Chase and Powell said that there's no telling what could have happened.

    "We're all kind of speculating at this point until we get some hard facts from the investigation,” Powell said.

    The city said it's too soon to put a price tag on what those repairs could cost because it's still unknown how the main broke, but Dr. Chase said his best guesstimate would be somewhere around a couple hundred thousand dollars.

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