Burst Water Main Floods Houston’s 610 East Loop, Disrupting Business Across The City
A major water main line broke along the 610 East Loop in Houston on Thursday, flooding both sides of the freeway and shutting down a major transit route in the city.
The 96-inch line broke near Loop 610 East and Clinton Drive early in the afternoon, causing water pressure to drop across large areas of the city.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a press conference Thursday that the Houston Department of Public Works is working on the repairs, which could potentially take six to eight hours. Turner also said flooding appeared to only be at street level, and that no water had infiltrated residential homes.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted that the main line typically serves over 50% of the city of Houston, and that residents should plan on boiling their water for the next 24 hours.
The Houston Health Department tweeted that food service establishments that do not have water or flushing toilets must cease operations. The department has dispatched sanitarians to the area of the break.
Business disruptions have been reported throughout Houston, with the University of Houston, Texas Southern University and Houston Community College all announcing campus closures for the remainder of the day.
“There has been some loss of water pressure reported at properties within the Central Business District. Our property management teams have been handling the situation and the water-related resources throughout the day, as well as communicating with building tenants to help curtail business disruptions,” Transwestern Senior Vice President Steve Ash told Bisnow.
“Per the city of Houston Public Works, the city has isolated the leak. As the most critical infrastructure to this city, Texas Medical Center is being prioritized in water restoration. They are working on an approach to back feed water from the west side,” Texas Medical Center President and CEO William McKeon said in a statement.
“This issue is on a building by building basis and we cannot speak on each member institution’s behalf. TECO, which serves the majority of TMC for heating and cooling, is fully operational.”
Travis Younkin, executive director of the Upper Kirby Management District, said outages in the Upper Kirby area were sporadic.
“Our building is not affected, but our neighbor’s is. We have fielded several calls from restaurants. Of course, they are the hardest hit with water outages,” Younkin said.
The Houston Independent School District has canceled school district-wide Friday and is sending maintenance to all affected facilities to ensure systems are functioning properly.